Martí-Franquès COFUND Fellowship Programme


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Legal and Social Sciences

Supervisor name and surname:

Dolors Comas d`Argemir Cendra

Supervisor email:

Supervisor short biography

Co-supervisor name and surname:

Yolanda Bodoque Puerta

Co-supervisor email:

Co-supervisor institution:


Co-supervisor short biography

PhD programme:

Gender Studies: Culture, Societies and Policies

Title of the research project:

Ethics of care, gender, and crisis. The impact of deinstitutionalization and re-familiarization in caring for elderly and dependent people.

Description of the research project:

The demand for care is framed as a ‘crisis’ in Europe, and family care is central to understanding of modern social care programmes. In Spain, the social organization of care has experienced the need to be reformulated due to the impact of a threefold crisis: the crisis of care; the economic crisis, and the current health crisis caused by COVID-19.

The "crisis of care" expresses the collapse of family and society to care for elderly and dependent people. In Spain, this crisis is produced by the massive presence of women in paid work, the increase in dependency situations, the fragmentation and reduction of support networks, the lack of involvement of men, and the weakness of public policies. On the other hand, the 2008 economic crisis deeply affected the population, due to high unemployment, housing problems and liberalizing policies, which have applied austerity measures with substantial cuts in public spending. The Dependency Law (2006) suffered serious delays in its application and its restructuring led to a budget reduction, re-familiarizing care and intensifying its commodification as a result of the less involvement of the state and the reduction of public policies. Finally, the current health emergency has caused, among others, an unprecedented crisis of the institutions and services involved in care, which has once again revealed the fragility of the social care organization: nursing homes and care home services have proved insufficient and absolutely precarious.

In Spain, this threefold crisis is causing a double process of deinstitutionalization and re-familiarization with a strong impact on families and women who mostly take care of their relatives. At the same time, well-being discourse has become ever-more prominent, and in policy terms ‘aging in place’ is often presented as a holistic and integrative alternative.

The research is based on ethics of care perspective, which understands human beings as vulnerable and dependent arguing for recognition of our innate need to care and be cared for. The aim is “de-gender care”, examining moral and ethical basis to understand the gendered nature of care and the relational interdependence of caring subjects. This perspective is chosen to clarify the balance between the role of families and the role of welfare states in supporting and addressing care needs. At the same time, it clarifies the commitment of women and men as carers. As in Spain autonomous regions have the competence of social care policies it is important to take in account a comparative framework to analyse it.

The objectives of the research are:
- describe and analyze the recent double process of deinstitutionalization and re-familiarization, and how well-being discourse is been applied in practice.
- analyze the implications of this process for family carers. In this point, the aim is to contribute to the conception of a practical ethics of care, by contrasting the well-being discourse of social policies and the daily practices of carers in family settings.
- examine specifically the commitment of men in caring for elderly and dependent people in this situation of deinstitutionalization and re-familiarization.
Ethics: This project involves ethical aspects.

Workplace location: Campus Catalunya, Tarragona

Gross anual salary:

27103.20 €


Full time

Working hours:

37.5 hours a week

Expected start date:

15 March 2021

European union This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413