Caring for diversity: meeting care needs of migrant and LGBT elderly in changing local care landscapes


In the past decade, many public services have moved from hierarchical systems to decentralised structures. These decentralisations pose major dilemma?s regarding equality within and between local ?landscapes? of care and welfare. The goal of this research is to investigate the consequences of the decentralisation of elderly care for the responsiveness to the care needs of migrant elderly and LGBT elderly, from a practical (non-ideal) justice perspective. To do so, the project uses an original combination of the capability approach and practice theory. Capabilities refer to the way local forms of equal care provision can be achieved by responding to the diverse care needs ensuing from individual and group identities of migrant and LGBT elderly. Practice theory serves to connect capabilities to caring practices, in which professional skills, notions of equal care and available resources come together.

The research consists of three interrelated projects. Two PhD students will investigate responsiveness to cultural and sexual diversity in local care landscapes, respectively. The applicant will investigate caring practices in housing and care initiatives with a distinct identity or focus. To understand how care needs of migrant and LGBT elderly are met in local care landscapes and distinct spaces of care, the researchers use document analysis, participatory techniques and interviews. The research activities are framed by a comparative case study design based on ?thick comparison?, which implies that grounds for comparison (such as evolving norms) between cases are juxtaposed in the course of the research process.

Within human geography, the research is among the first to apply the capability approach, and connects debates that have hitherto developed separately. Further, it adds to previous work on older people?s capabilities and results in the first systematic overview of caring practices for migrant and LGBT elderly following the decentralisation.





Dr. R.A.H. Hoekstra-Pijpers

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Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen, Geografie, Planologie en Milieu


H.A. Carlsson MA, Dr. R.A.H. Hoekstra-Pijpers, C.G. Honsbeek MA