South Asian Women Elders and Everyday Lives of ‘Care in the Community’ in Britain: The Neoliberal turn in Social Care and the myth of the family

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This article focuses upon the myth of the South Asian family as a self-fulfilling unit in which a construction of ‘looking after their own’ in the diaspora is perpetuated which intrinsically assumes how care and caring are organised at home. The Care in the Community agenda in Britain, which comes out of the contemporary neoliberal paradigm of austerity in which social welfare services have been dramatically cut and reformulated, utilises this imagined myth of the South Asian family in its judgements of the needs of South Asian women elders. Based on fieldwork at a South Asian women’s centre in Britain, the article highlights how women’s senses of self and selflessness relate to and reflect the neoliberal decline of welfare in which ‘looking after their own’ presents an ideal for policies which are rescinding delivery of services and entitlements. We highlight how South Asian women elders are absorbing the burdens of this social care paradigm shift while also bearing the strains of generational shifts around the culture of the family and expectations of women’s roles as they move through the life course as carers and as those being cared for.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalSouth Asian Diaspora
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017