What is ‘customary’ care at home?


On institutional aspects of ‘home’ and ‘care’

Jan Willem Duyvendak, Ellen Grootegoed and Eva Barneveld
Universiteit Van Amsterdam

In this paper, we look at ‘home’ as an institution: what are the defining formal and informal rules attached to ‘home’? We will start from,  and elaborated upon, the description by Boltanski and Thévenot of the ‘domestic world’ as characterized by specific principles, investments, relation of worth, etc.  We then ask ourselves how ‘home’ as an institution defines ideas and ‘good practices’ of care for people sharing the same household. Based on extensive empirical research, we will show how these ideas evolve over time. As an empirical case, we deal with changes in the care regime in the Netherlands, in which ‘customary care’ (i.e. care to be exchanged between members of the same household) is re-defined by both the government  and, consequently, caretakers and caregivers. The paper shows that not only the meaning of ‘customary care’ has dramatically changed but –related- the significance of ‘home’ as well.