Chapter 22: Re-examining family-centred care arrangements in East Asia
Providing and receiving care are fundamental activities of every human being. At different periods in our life-course we are all likely to require varying levels and types of support from others. Providing and receiving care can have both positive and negative aspects for those involved, and this experience is greatly influenced by social and cultural contexts, as well as the personal relationships between caregivers and care-receivers. The welfare state has a strong bearing on the resources available when we need to provide or receive care, and it establishes rules governing who can and should provide care and which care should be a policy concern. Care could be described as an activity and a set of relations lying at the intersection of state, market, family and community. Historically in East Asia, both in policy and in practice, the family has been the primary institution responsible for providing and financing care for both children and older people. The social norm that care should be family-centred has long been dominant, and care policies have supported and promoted this norm. However, such a ‘traditional’ model of care has come under urgent scrutiny in recent years, as rapid changes to demographic and family structures in East Asian necessitate the implementation of a different model of care. Indeed, it might even be argued that this reliance on a ‘traditional’, family-centred model of care has ironically created new social risks much more significantly in East Asia than in Europe.
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