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Care and identity in rural Malawi

Freeman, Emily (2016) Care and identity in rural Malawi. In: Hoffman, Jaco and Pype, Katrien, (eds.) Ageing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Spaces and Practices of Care. Ageing in a Global Context. Policy Press, Bristol, UK, pp. 115-136. ISBN 978-1447325253

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Abstract

Political and academic concern that care for older adults in Sub-Saharan Africa is insufficient and under strain in light of changing demography and society is long standing (UN, 1982), but poorly set out. Questions remain unanswered: What is meant by ‘care’ and what is the care that older adults need? Do (all) older adults want this (undefined) care? If they do, when do they want it and from whom? Much of the established discourse implies incapacity in older age, a burden of care to be shouldered by family, and homogenised ‘elderly people’ who want, and sometimes successfully motivate, care. This chapter considers the way older men and women in rural southern Malawi talk about care. It argues that research conversations about care became a discursive space in which participants explored what the giving, receiving and needing of care meant for their sense of selves as they aged. All participants presented their experiences of care in ways which they understood would demonstrate positive self-identities. They talked much less about availability of care, and much more about what the giving and receiving of care ‘said’ about them. Drawing on sociological theories of identity, the chapter considers the implications of the meanings associated with different types of care for older adults’ age-related identity scripts.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL: https://policypress.co.uk/ageing-in-sub-saharan-af...
Additional Information: © 2016 Policy Press
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Sets: Research centres and groups > LSE Health and Social Care
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2016 16:19
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2016 09:44
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/67051

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