Interdependency and Care over the Lifecourse (Relationships and Resources)

Bowlby, Sophia, McKie, Linda, Gregory, Susan and Macpherson, Isobel
Routledge, London
9780415434676 (pb)

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Cover of book Interdependency and Care over the Lifecourse Sophia Bowlby, Linda Mckie, Susan Gregory and Isobel Macpherson Relationships and Resources Series Editors : Janet Holland and Rosalind Edwards London South Bank University London and New York :Routledge Taylor & Francis Group ISBN10:0-41543467-X (pbk) 2010 This very readable book will be a useful reference book for students studying health and social care, geography, the sociology of the family in changing times, as well as social policy. It uses time zones and fictitious case studies to introduce the concepts of caregiving and receiving,which are compared and contrasted to good effect.

The authors have written the text from a feminist perspective with little or no mention of the care given by men in any of the time zones chosen. Not all care is given by women either informally or formally and this should be recognised.There is a lack of equity for male carers who may also have to give up their jobs in order to fulfil a caring role which will have a major impact on the household income.They highlight the dilemma many women face as they juggle work and informal caregiving .There is positive acknowledgement throughout the book of the value of care giving and receiving as an essential part of human emotional growth.

By using examples from the Sub Saharan African regions the authors have illustrated how HIV/ AIDS have changed families irrevocably and the demands that bring up young children with few resources now falls on an ageing grandparent. Whilst this may be a problem in the UK it is a disaster In Sub Saharan Africa where life expectancy is much shorter and there are no Social Services. This is an important consideration for all of us in the caring sector especially those with responsibilities in the international community. The examples of the clients in the Czechoslovakian Republic, the Netherlands and the United States of America show the complexities of families separated by distance. The American scenario raises the ethical problem of formal caregiving by an illegal immigrant which is a clever demonstration of the low status and therefore remuneration is given to care workers.

Chapter 5 focuses on the concept of spaces and the emotional values attached to them. It includes the loss of a home and the relocation to a residential care home setting with all of the feelings associated with this big life change. There is also a major consideration of networks of friends and chains of care which includes volunteering with the resources required for this.

In the final chapters the problems of working and caring are explored. The need to recognise that workers may have other responsibilities are highlighted and organisational understanding must be recognisedas society working patterns change. The figure of Overlapping Spheres of Care is an elegant way of portraying the focus of organisation carescapes. The definition of a carescape is the domain in which care is given relating to care outside of an organisation, classic work-life research and policies, and overlapping care within an organisation. This relates to a previous paper by McKie et al. (2009) "Organisation Carescapes: Researching organisations, work and Care" and "A small scale randomized efficacy trial of Carescapes: Enhancing children`s social development in child care homes" by Rusby et al. (2008).

The business and policy communities are key stakeholders to the last chapter which addresses the future of care with matrices to illustrate the dimensions of carescapes. The conclusion neatly encapsulates the theme of this interesting reference book, which should prove invaluable to students of health and social care, geography and sociology.

Overall this is an excellent book, but the text would have benefited from more diligent proof - reading, for example there is a typing error on page 33 where I feel that "combing care" makes no sense in this reference book.

Valerie G. Eslick
Bournemouth University


McKie, L., Hogg, G., Bowlby, S. and Smith, A. (2009) Organisation Carescapes: Policies & Practices of Care in Business Organisations Final Report to the Economic and Social Research Council.

Rusby, J.C., Smolkowski, K., Marquez, B., & Taylor, T.K. (2008). A small-scale randomized efficacy trial of Carescapes: enhancing children's social development in child care homes. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 527-546>.