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Identity and care in rural Malawi

Freeman, Emily (2013) Identity and care in rural Malawi. In: Ageing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Spaces and Practices of Care, 2013-05-10, Leuven, Belgium. (Submitted)

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This presentation will consider two interwoven, but not necessarily allied, discourses on the practice and expectations of care for older adults in rural Malawi. It will be based on analyses of data produced between 2008 and 2010 using repeat dependent interviews (n=135) with older men and women (n=43) and key informant interviews (n=19) with policy and programme makers. These were supplemented by fieldwork observations over 11 months, as well as data from a three-month multi-site pilot study, interviews with HIV support groups (n=3) and policy documents.The presentation starts in the villages of southern Malawi. It will explore the centrality of reciprocal exchanges of physical strength (“blood”) and the importance of self-care in older adults’ understandings of old age care without shame. Against this, it will consider the receipt of care in practice and how ‘real life’ – food scarcity, priorities, illness and arguments –distorted the reciprocal exchange. The presentation will then move to Lilongwe, the capital, where the creation of a new space of care for older adults was being debated. Here in an ageing-focused policy and programme arena that was just emerging, government and civil society stakeholders were engaged in finding a solution to a contested ‘problem’: what should an “African” response be if ‘the family will care’ could no longer be relied upon? In both urban and rural spaces, old age care provided a forum in which national and social identities were constructed and reconstructed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2017 16:03
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2021 23:24

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