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  • Author or Editor: Oddvar Førland x
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In Norway and elsewhere, care provision for frail elderly populations faces pressure from austerity measures and neoliberal governance. Public long-term care services are continually reconfigured through new policy measures (for example, ‘ageing in place’) and emphasis on ‘principles for prioritisation’. This study utilises ethnographic approaches to provide new insights into the prevailing contestation and devaluation of care work. Care work is predominantly carried out by women; thus, ongoing, fundamental reforms to the welfare system simultaneously represent a gendered battle. We identify tensions around how ‘needs’ for care are interpreted and argue that the female workforce is coerced to accept rationalities that undermine their professional and ethical understandings of ‘proper care work’, which, in turn, questions the perception of the ‘women-friendly’ Norwegian welfare state.

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Reablement approaches are growing rapidly across the Western world, reflecting ideas such as ‘healthy and active ageing’, which have framed reforms in health and social policies since the 1990s. Across world regions, there is today a general agreement that reablement is a person-centred approach, aiming to enhance the functioning and independence of older citizens through interprofessional training and activating them at home, thus reducing their need for long-term care. This chapter investigates how ideas of reablement have travelled and materialised into similar policies, activities, and institutional practices of reablement within and across different world regions.

Inspired by theories of ‘rhetorical frames’ and ‘travels of ideas’, we have interviewed eight key informants and studied policy documents and online information resources from governing authorities, representing three world regions. The analysis supports the argument that the travelling of ideas is quite complex and characterised by circularity rather than linearity. It focuses on the sustainability of the long-term care systems and the local and national needs to find efficient and cost-saving approaches. Our findings also indicate that transnational ideas of ‘successful ageing’, ‘active and healthy citizens’ have travelled to local and national practice, but also from local bottom-up initiatives to the agendas of supranational organisations.

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