Hjälp för att bevara eller förändra? Åldersrelaterade diskurser om omsorg, stöd och service
Sammanfattning: This thesis analyses the categorisation of adult persons who need help to cope in everyday life as either older persons or persons with a disability. Despite the development of social services in the Scandinavian countries being guided by the principles of universalism and equality, adults in need of care have different rights to support depending on their current age and at which age disability occurs. This thesis aims to explore how age-based differences in access to care, support and service are legitimised. In the thesis, the concept of help is used to refer to care, support and service.Using a discourse analytic approach, Swedish elderly and disability policies and websites through which providers of help market their services were examined. The analysis, inspired by the theoretical framework of governmentality, draws attention to how users of help and helpers are constituted in two age-related discourses on help. The first discourse, help to maintain, is used mainly in relation to older persons. In this discourse older persons are constituted as subjects in need of safety, comfort and company while the helpers are represented as caring and knowing. The second discourse, help to change, constitutes younger persons with a disability as citizens in becoming. Help aims to improve the situation for younger help users in varying ways: the opportunity to fully determine the tasks performed by helpers is essential to users of personal assistance whereas personal development as regards both practical and social skills is the key to change for persons with an intellectual or mental disability. While help for younger persons is represented as a means to enhance the individual’s self-determination and ability to participate in society, help for older persons is represented as aiming to maintain past patterns of life, not aspiring towards change or improvement. It is argued that these representations support a lower ambition for eldercare than for disability services.
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