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The nursery workspace, emotional labour, and contested understandings of commoditised childcare in the contemporary UK

The nursery workspace, emotional labour, and contested understandings of commoditised childcare in the contemporary UK
The nursery workspace, emotional labour, and contested understandings of commoditised childcare in the contemporary UK
Day nurseries are now the most prevalent form of childcare in the UK after grandparents. Yet in contrast to the considerable administrative attention these spaces attract in terms of certification and oversight, little is known about nurseries as places to work. We extend existing scholarship through an analysis of care practices and emotional labour in day nurseries based on 400 hours of participant observation and interviews with 22 care workers at five facilities in the South of England. We argue that although hard, draining work; nursery workers can also experience profound emotional connections with the children in their care. We then extend our analysis to argue that various kinds of boundary-work is undertaken in nursery space to both validate strong feelings (including love) between care workers and children, and maintain conceptual coherence over the emotional entitlements of parents and care workers in the context of emotional bonds between carers and children which blur sharp divisions between ‘kin’ and ‘non-kin’. Finally we mobilize these findings to challenge dominant theoretical conceptualisations of commoditised care as incapable of providing nourishing emotional bonds; as well as portrayals of day nurseries as a priori ‘non-nurturing’ spaces which circulate widely in the UK popular press.
childcare, day nurseries, care work, emotional labour, commoditised care, affective practice
1464-9365
517-540
Boyer, Kate
58353460-e5b0-47f3-a7a3-27df98b2318b
Reimer, Suzanne
d6594766-1967-4439-a8bb-14e52a6e2f5f
Irvine, Lauren
a52ac69f-3166-4b4c-aa9c-dbc1637d6dda
Boyer, Kate
58353460-e5b0-47f3-a7a3-27df98b2318b
Reimer, Suzanne
d6594766-1967-4439-a8bb-14e52a6e2f5f
Irvine, Lauren
a52ac69f-3166-4b4c-aa9c-dbc1637d6dda

Boyer, Kate, Reimer, Suzanne and Irvine, Lauren (2013) The nursery workspace, emotional labour, and contested understandings of commoditised childcare in the contemporary UK. Social & Cultural Geography, 14 (5), 517-540. (doi:10.1080/14649365.2012.710913).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Day nurseries are now the most prevalent form of childcare in the UK after grandparents. Yet in contrast to the considerable administrative attention these spaces attract in terms of certification and oversight, little is known about nurseries as places to work. We extend existing scholarship through an analysis of care practices and emotional labour in day nurseries based on 400 hours of participant observation and interviews with 22 care workers at five facilities in the South of England. We argue that although hard, draining work; nursery workers can also experience profound emotional connections with the children in their care. We then extend our analysis to argue that various kinds of boundary-work is undertaken in nursery space to both validate strong feelings (including love) between care workers and children, and maintain conceptual coherence over the emotional entitlements of parents and care workers in the context of emotional bonds between carers and children which blur sharp divisions between ‘kin’ and ‘non-kin’. Finally we mobilize these findings to challenge dominant theoretical conceptualisations of commoditised care as incapable of providing nourishing emotional bonds; as well as portrayals of day nurseries as a priori ‘non-nurturing’ spaces which circulate widely in the UK popular press.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: May 2012
Published date: 2013
Keywords: childcare, day nurseries, care work, emotional labour, commoditised care, affective practice
Organisations: PHEW – C (Care), Population, Health & Wellbeing (PHeW)

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 338325
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/338325
ISSN: 1464-9365
PURE UUID: 52efc08b-6c00-4313-9a7c-bd0b9021f542
ORCID for Suzanne Reimer: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7325-4368

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 May 2012 09:10
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:43

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