The demands of work and the ethics of care…

Demands of work and/or pressure of time are said to most often fuel the commodification of services as well as the demand for products. Pocock (2003) argues that where factors such as increased employment of women, the casualisation of the workforce and increased family mobility contribute to a denudation of time families spend together, home and community networks and relationships become impoverished. Relationships are an important element in fostering young children’s social and emotional development. Having a business orientation may result in greater concern for efficiency than for establishing relationships that provide for continuity, consistency and stability within caregiving. Parents purchase childcare, and cost (an element of productivity) is a significant factor in such purchasing. Many grandparents in the Grandcaring study (Goodfellow & Laverty, 2003; Laverty, 2003) valued the intensive, responsive nurturing and the consistency and continuity that existed within the relationships they had with their grandchildren. One grandparent commented, ‘he is all yours, so loving and trusting’ (p. 17).

Grandparents’ views reflect the nature of an ethic of care as a moral activity situated within relationships (Toronto, 1993; Williams, 2001). Such activity involves attentiveness, responsibility, competence and responsiveness as well as an appreciation of the vulnerabilities of both the caregiver and the care receiver. Grandparents questioned whether this kind of a caring relationship was even possible in childcare services where adults care for many children: ‘Childcare is a different kind of care [from grandparent care]. Parents drop the child off there. The carer does not know all the things that the grandparent is privy to. (Unpublished transcript data)’

Many families with young children either do not have ready access to relatives who can assist in caring for their children or would rather buy services than owe their parents or a friend (Pocock, 2003). Some parents choose not to ask their own parents to care for their children because they do not wish to feel obligated to them; others relish the thought of fostering stronger emotional bonds between their children and grandparents (Goodfellow & Laverty, 2003). Some parents have childcare choices; others do not have the same options. However, whatever the options available, there are still paradoxes within childcare service provision that require attention.” (55)

Ref: Joy Goodfellow (2005) ‘Market Childcare: preliminary considerations of a ‘property view’ of the child’  Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, Volume 6, Number 1, pp. 54-65

Reference is made to: Pocock, Barbara (2003) The Work/Life Collision. Sydney: Federation Press.

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in early years education, Images of Parent Child and Expert, Literate Contexts, Metaphors and Narratives around children and learners and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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