Producing (im)mobilities in home care for the elderly: the role of home care agencies in Switzerland

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Huey Shy Chau


The Free Movement of Persons Agreement has fostered the emergence of a new market for live-in care in Switzerland. Private care agencies recruit women from the European Union (EU) accession states and place them as live-in carers for the elderly in private households. This paper focuses on how these agencies organise these live-in care arrangements.  Drawing on concepts of the politics of mobility, I analyse the production of (im)mobilities through the placement and recruitment practices of care agencies and the power relations that underlie live-in care arrangements. The findings show that live-in care is constituted both by mobilities, exemplified by care workers’ circular movements and need to be highly mobile, and by care workers’ immobilities once they start working in a household. The care workers’ mobility is in turn enabled by the agencies’ placement practices and by infrastructures specialised in their movements, which serve as moorings.


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