Brock University

A Sociology of Care: Challenging Borders and Boundaries of Care in Families and Filial Relationships

What is care and how do we investigate it? This panel starts with the assumption that care is more than the performance of tasks, more than an expression of concern, more than an ethic or a labour of love. Care involves distinct ways of being and relating to others. It involves its own specific styles of knowing and judging. It requires particular forms of institutional and social organization. Yet care also marks off contested terrain at the intersections of public and private boundaries. Care is shaped byand in turn shapesinequities in power, divisions of labour, affective relations and discursive constructions. Care is deeply implicated in the social relations of gender, race, class, sexuality, age, and ability in global and local contexts. A Sociology of Care: Challenging Borders and Boundaries calls us to explore the possibilities and limitations of care. It raises questions around policy priorities and the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth and human resources. Can a sociology of care contribute to a way forward? We invite papers that advance our understanding of care as a social, political, and global process and/or strive to produce knowledge in support of a more caring society.

Session Organizer: Rachel Barken, McMaster University, ; Suzanne Day, York University,


Young Adult Carers in Canada: How caregiving shapes their educational and work opportunities

Samantha Hudyma, York University ,

Young adults comprise an invisible caregiving population. In Canada and throughout world, many young adult caregivers provide informal unpaid carework to their family members and others in need. Yet, both the efforts of this population and the challenges that they face remain unacknowledged in society and largely absent from academic literature. For these caregivers, obligations of care provision come at a critical point in the life course. Often coinciding with educational and workplace demands, caregiving can constrain young adults’ age-related opportunities which can pose long term consequences over the life course.

This study uses a mixed methods approach to investigate the negative impacts of caregiving on young adults’ abilities to work and attend school in Canada. Using the 2006 Canada Census, a  demographic portrait for this group is established. Then, multinomial logistic regression is employed to analyze educational and employment outcomes in relation to caregiving and relevant socio-demographic variables for young adults. Lastly, five in-depth interviews are conducted with young adult carers to explore their subjective experiences of caregiving. The results confirm that caregiving is associated with restricted educational and employment opportunities for young adults.


Care Work and Its Impact on Health and Health Practices among Canadian Older Adults

Lichun Liu, Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy, University of Lethbridge, , Susan McDaniel, Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy, University of Lethbridge, , Germain Boco, Prentice Institute for Global Population and Economy, University of Lethbridge ,

Baby boomers make up an increasingly important part of Canada’s aging population. However, we know little about the influences of their unpaid work on their healthy aging practices. This paper explores the impact of unpaid work on health status and healthy aging practices, especially in physical activities and social participation among Canadian older adults aged 55 years and above. Based on data from the Canadian Community Health Survey—Healthy Aging (2010), this paper uses a gender-based analysis to explore the weekly hours and types of unpaid care work older adults performed and the challenges and barriers they encountered in providing caregiving and in keeping healthy or in self-care by highlighting the interaction of gender, age groups, level of education, employment status, and immigration.


© Canadian Sociological Association ⁄ La Société canadienne de sociologie