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Calling for Care: ‘Disembodied’ Work, Teleoperators and Older People Living at Home

Roberts, Celia and Mort, Margaret and Milligan, Christine (2012) Calling for Care: ‘Disembodied’ Work, Teleoperators and Older People Living at Home. Sociology, 46 (3). pp. 490-506. ISSN 0038-0385

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Abstract

The provision of ‘distant’ care to older people living at home through telecare technologies is often contrasted negatively to hands-on, face-to-face care: telecare is seen as a loss of care, a dehumanization. Here we challenge this view, arguing that teleoperators in telecare services do provide care to older people, often at significant emotional cost to themselves. Based on a European Commission-funded ethnographic study of two English telecare monitoring centres, we argue that telecare is not ‘disembodied’ work, but a form of care performed through the use of voice, knowledge sharing and emotional labour or self-management. We also show, in distinction to discourses promoting telecare in the UK, that successful telecare relies on the existence of social networks and the availability of hands-on care. Telecare is not a substitute for, or the opposite of, hands-on care but is at its best interwoven with it.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Sociology
Uncontrolled Keywords: call centres ; care ; care work ; older people ; telecare
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
Faculty of Health and Medicine > Medicine
Faculty of Health and Medicine > Health Research
ID Code: 54193
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 18 May 2012 13:53
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2013 00:21
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/54193

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