Män, kvinnor & omsorg. En studie av omsorg som begrepp och handling i mans- och kvinnodominerade yrken

Detta är en avhandling från Socialhögskolan, Box 23, 221 00 Lund, Sweden

Sammanfattning: The aim of this study was to investigate care as concept and action and to see how care can be expressed in different conditions. The dissertation contains a survey of non-feminist and feminist theories of care and an empirical study of views of care and caring acts in four professional groups: janitors, neighbourhood police, district nurses, and home-helpers. The study, which is based on interviews, participant observation, and a questionnaire, shows that the concept of care is perceived differently in different professional groups and that the caring acts performed in different teams are of different kinds. I make a primary distinction between acts which involve care (personal responsibility) and those which do not (technical responsibility), and a secondary distinction between situational care (caring acts which are confined to the situation) and continuous care (caring acts extending over a certain time). The type of caring acts performed proved to depend on the ideals of the team. These ideals differ in different work teams within the professional groups, mainly depending on whether the practitioners are autonomous or collectivistic. Autonomous practitioners mainly give continuous care, while collectivistic practitioners mainly give situational care. Whether the practitioner is a man or a woman or the profession is male- or female-dominated proves to be of subordinate importance. One difference, however, is that men in the male-dominated professions have greater regard for the other person’s integrity, whereas women in the female-dominated professions act to a higher extent out of a sense of responsibility for the other person’s well-being. The analysis showed that this difference in the stress on integrity and responsibility in male and female practice is also found in the difference between non-feminist and feminist theories and philosophies.

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