Care Strategies and Social Inequality in Spain
Castelló Santamaria, Laia
SOCIOLOGY UNIVERSITAT AUTÒNOMA DE BARCELONA Cerdanyola del Vallès, SPAIN
The principal aim of this paper is to present the different "care strategies" of Spanish households -with women as main protagonists-, in their every-day life. These strategies are basically aimed to the supply of welfare to the members of the family, through domestic and care work, and are the result of the "work-life balance" opportunities and privations of each household. The understanding of these "strategies of care" will be illustrated from a perspective that integrates the dynamics and conflicts of power "intragender", originated by the position of women in the coordinates of social stratification like the ethnic group, the social class or the age.
The study of these strategies has allowed, in first place, to construct a typology of women depending on their mode of articulation of the production-reproduction binomial and, in second place, to approach us to their practices and experiences, as well as gender identities and social imaginaries.
One of the "care strategies" that will be analyzed in depth will be the "outsourcing" of the domestic and care work to the market -or commodification-. The literature and the datum make evident the raise in Spain, during the last decades, of the practice of moving the reproductive work from the family to the market. This commodification of the reproductive work could be considered a time-saving strategy by female employers; though in no case should it be considered a strategy that puts familistic and patriarchal values in doubt. The solution to the problems that Spanish households (women) have with self-managing reproductive work have been pre-eminently sought in the domestic market, without disrupting gender roles, the ethnic segregation or the lack of involvement of public institutions.
It is due to this that a ?crisis of care? is occurring in Mediterranean countries, but without moving the bases that make it possible: the scarcity of personal public services channelled by the Welfare State and the low involvement of men in domestic affairs.