Angela Abbott’s PhD success
Angela Abbott, Research Associate in SiDE Society strand, successfully defended her thesis in July 2011, and has been awarded a PhD, subject to minor revisions. Angela began her 1+3 ESRC funded studentship in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University in 2006, supervised by Professor Alison Stenning and Dr. Helen Jarvis. Angela’s thesis is titled ‘Orientations and Lifeworlds of Carers of Older People in Tyne and Wear, UK’, which aimed to better understand issues of choice and control in social care, in light of a shift in social care policy towards personalised services. Her qualitative study was undertaken with carers of older people across the mixed economy of care (including agency carers, volunteers and family carers) with a particular empirical focus on carers who live and work in working class communities in Tyne and Wear. Her findings suggest common dichotomies often used to distinguish carer ‘types’, such as love/money and paid/unpaid are in practice more blurred and contingent when negotiating the ‘right thing to do’ with older people and with other carers. Carer motivations, negotiation of caring practice, and their experiential lifeworlds often intersect in important ways, creating tensions with moral, organisational and role boundaries, but with some material differences. Consequently, findings suggest policies which aim to improve choice and control for older people through the personalisation of services, need to take greater account of the relational agency of carers across public, private, voluntary and informal care settings. With colleagues in SiDE, Angela’s is currently exploring ways in which digital technologies may be usefully employed in care settings to improve choice and control for older people and their carers across the mixed economies of care.