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Caring for Our OwnWhy There is No Political Demand for New American Social Welfare Rights$
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Sandra R. Levitsky

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199993123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199993123.001.0001

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The Transformation of Private Needs into Public Issues

The Transformation of Private Needs into Public Issues

Chapter:
(p.66) Chapter 3 The Transformation of Private Needs into Public Issues
Source:
Caring for Our Own
Author(s):

Sandra R. Levitsky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199993123.003.0003

This chapter explores the first essential dimension of politicization: the process of reinterpreting longstanding “private” needs as matters of public deliberation and decision making. How do individuals who are deeply committed to the ideology of family responsibility for care come to view a personal issue like caring for ailing parents or partners as a subject appropriate for policy intervention? Drawing on the social movement concept of collective identity, this chapter finds that group identification with a caregiver identity is an important mechanism by which individuals challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about family responsibility for care and think about long-term care as a public policy issue. Sustained contact with the discourse of caregiving in social services highlights similarities among caregiver experiences and reframes their individual problems as collective problems. That discourse also emphasizes the underlying structural or sociocultural factors that make long-term care so difficult for families in the United States.

Keywords:   politicization, collective identity, caregiver identity, group identification, social services, long-term care, family responsibility

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