Relationship-Based Care Work, Austerity and Aged Care

Donna Baines, Annabel Dulhunty, Sara Charlesworth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Home care and aged care in English-speaking countries around the globe have enthusiastically taken up a model of work known as ‘relationship-based care’ (RBC). Part of the popularity of RBC is because it does not challenge austerity, underfunding, and extensive managerialism. Instead it works within and through them to foster caring connections between patients, staff, and families, and is able to do so because workers are willing to self-sacrifice for clients. Drawing on case study data collected using a ‘rapid ethnography’ methodology in two large Australian aged care organisations, this article explores workers’ experience of work and contributes to Bolton’s typology of emotion management in the relationship-based care endeavour. Our typology includes: (1) austerity-linked sacrifice; (2) official discourse; (3) faux control; and (4) compulsory time philanthropy. The article contributes to debates on care work, relationship-based care, emotional labour, and emotion management and working in the context of austerity and managerialism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)139 –155
    JournalWork, Employment and Society
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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