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Rebecca Selberg

Rebecca Selberg

Associate senior lecturer

Rebecca Selberg

The Crisis of Care - Caring Against Crisis : Professional Responses to Austerity Politics in Female Dominated Welfare Professions


  • Rebecca Selberg
  • Paula Mulinari
  • Magnus Sandberg

Summary, in English

Capitalist crises, such as the current financial crisis, are also crises in the sphere of social reproduction, according to Fraser (2014). In the current phase of financialized capitalism, social reproduction is increasingly treated as a commodity. As many feminist- and gender scholars have showed, this has resulted in increased pressures on women’s labour. During the last ten years, the Nordic countries and Sweden in particular have witnessed increasing levels of individual as well as collective forms of resistance challenging such processes of work intensification Sociologist Göran Therborn identifies the public sector professions as one of three central actors that can pose a serious threat to the current economic and political tendencies propelling what Fraser calls the crisis of care. This paper has two aims. The first aim is to contribute to a feminist analysis of how the current phase of financialised capitalism shapes the sphere of care work in a Nordic context. The second aim is to analyse the potential of public sector care workers to mobilize against marketization, in a Polanyian sense. Through an analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data, the article explores worker agency in the framework of exit, voice and loyalty (Hirschman 1990), and illustrates some of the ways in which public sector employees draw on notions of equality and responsibility to patients and clients to resist the austerity regime.


  • Department of Gender Studies
  • Health-promoting Complex Interventions

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • Other Social Sciences

Conference name

ESA 14th Conference of the <br/>European Sociological Association

Conference date

2019-08-20 - 2019-08-23

Conference place

Manchester, United Kingdom



Research group

  • Health-promoting Complex Interventions