Negotiating informal elder care, migration and exclusion: the case of a Turkish immigrant community in Belgium

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Wouter De Tavernier
Veerle Draulans


In this article, we analyse the role exclusion plays in three theories explaining the provision of informal care for the elderly: norms and roles (sociological institutionalism), the availability and accessibility of formal care (rational choice institutionalism) and concerns about balancing time and money (rational choice theory). Feeding into the discussion on agency in old-age exclusion literature, we argue that exclusion shapes informal care provision in all three theories: social exclusion enforces norms, civic exclusion hinders appropriate formal care provision and economic exclusion reduces the opportunity costs of informal care. Hence, exclusion structures positions and power relations in care negotiation processes. The study shows that exclusion should not only be analysed as an outcome but also as a force shaping the life conditions of older people. The argument is supported using data from qualitative interviews with stakeholders in informal elder care in a Turkish immigrant community in Belgium. Intersections of gender, generation and migration status are taken into account.


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