A Cross-National Comparison
Globalization and Welfare series
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Governance of Home Care
This chapter introduces home care as a complicated set of activities that transcend a number of boundaries, especially between public and private, formal and informal, and the micro and the macro levels. We discuss the importance of defining care by its location and provide an overview of the different locations that are used to define ‘home’, as well as the dynamics between different home locations. This chapter also introduces the concept of ‘governance’ as applied to home care, and introduces the close relationship between the public/private and the formal and informal sectors.1 It demonstrates that the governance of home care has become highly politicised because of demographic developments relating to ageing populations, societal developments relating to individualisation and changing gender cultures, including changes in the traditional role of families as care givers, and economic developments relating to heightened resource constraints across all policy areas. This chapter also explains our choice of countries for analysis and offers an overview of the relevant cultural and institutional contexts of home care in each country, which are fleshed out in Chapter 3.2 Finally we introduce the issue of convergence. At the theoretical level there is currently considerable debate between those who argue that there is a convergence of policy across countries and others who contend that despite convergence, in some arenas there remains considerable divergence due to cultural and structural variation. These latter observers point to the embeddedness of policies in countryspecific contexts. Home care governance across these countries serves as an excellent test...