Governing Home Care

Governing Home Care

A Cross-National Comparison

Globalization and Welfare series

Viola Burau, Hildegard Theobald and Robert H. Blank

Care of the elderly in their own homes has increasingly come into the focus of contemporary welfare policies and raises important questions about the governance of welfare in general. By taking a comparative and thematic approach, this interesting and timely book offers a comprehensive analysis of the principal issues surrounding the governance of home care.

Chapter 3: Contexts of Governing Home Care: Ideas and Institutions

Viola Burau, Hildegard Theobald and Robert H. Blank

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy


The analytical framework presented in the preceding chapter has two aims: first, to map out home care and its organisation using the concept of governance; and second, to account for differences and similarities across countries by analysing relevant ideas and institutions and the interplay between them. This provides the framework for contextualising governing arrangements across our countries. In the conclusions of their comparative analysis of child and elderly care, Anttonen et al. (2003a) argue that using such contexts to construct typologies to systematically explain differences and similarities across countries is difficult and even problematic. The authors point to the complex dynamics of care arrangements and to the lack of standardisation of the use and provision of care services. This partly reflects the plasticity of care, that informal care can easily substitute for formal care. Instead, Anttonen et al. suggest analysing the dynamics of care arrangements within the context of the specific characteristics of individual country cases and even individual services. Similarly our analytical model does not describe causal relations but instead a looser configuration of factors that shape the governance of home care. With several different factors at play, the effect of individual factors also partly depends on the interplay among them, thus further complicating the formulation of any precise predictions. With this in mind, the aim of the present chapter is to map out the ideas and institutions that form the context of the governance of home care in our respective countries. The substantive analyses in the following chapters...

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