The discourse on the integration of male 'refugees' into public and private elderly care homes in the context of the current care crisis in Germany
Title: The discourse on the integration of male 'refugees' into public and private elderly care homes in the context of the current care crisis in Germany
Author: ROHDE-ABUBA, Caterina
Series/Number: EUI RSCAS; 2018/48; Global Governance Programme-316
Against the background of increased immigration in Germany since 2015, there is a largely negative public discourse on ‘refugees’ (especially Muslim young men), who are assumed to pose a threat to society and struggle to integrate due to their supposedly ancient, undemocratic and misogynist values. Due to the severe lack of elderly care workers in Germany, integration projects have been established that train ‘refugees’ for elderly care work in homes. The discourse on participants runs counter to the image of ‘dangerous foreign masculinity’ and constructs male ‘refugees’ as ideal elderly care workers. Based on the theoretical concept of othering, this article shows how by intermingling culture, religion and gender a subaltern masculinity is constructed to depict ‘refugees’’ suitability for elderly care work. It is suggested that these young men respect and subordinate themselves to the elderly as if they were their own relatives. The image of the devoted care worker seems to contrast the perception of young Muslim men as being dangerous, although both interpretations prompt the notion of a traditionalist value system that is assumed to be the essential and static characteristic of mi-grants from ‘Muslim countries’. Presenting the success of integrating ‘refugees’ in elderly care work allows the German society and more specifically elderly care providers to position them-selves through “welfare narratives” as charitable actors who offer ‘refugees’ a chance of integration into the labour market. Accordingly, it is de-thematised that ‘refugees’ provide extensive unpaid or low-paid work in the name of integration and training, as well as covering necessary tasks in the understaffed care system.
Subject: Care work; Refugees; Masculinity; Othering; Critical discourse analysis
Type of Access: openAccess