Speaker: Karen Christensen - Professor of Sociology, University of Bergen
LOCATION: Convocation Suite, City University London, Northampton Square, EC1V 0HB
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Karen Christensen will speak about both disabled people's and care workers' experiences in the welfare system 'cash-for-care' in the UK and Norway. Her talk is based on findings from a qualitative cross-national study she carried out in London and Bergen. In both countries the cash-for-care system aims to enhance service users' independence by giving them the role of an employer or manager in relation to their care workers, who are termed 'personal assistants'. As 'independence' is currently a key issue within social policy, her study contributes to empirically based knowledge about the contents of 'independence' in relation to welfare services in disabled people's daily life, which strategies care workers may use when meeting these 'empowered' users, how the cash-for-care system can affect the relationships disabled people and personal assistants shape together and finally, how all these issues may vary due to different directions encouraged by the British and Norwegian cash-for-care systems.
Karen is a sociologist from the University of Bergen who has been working in the department of Sociology for over ten years, with her main duties consisting of both teaching and supervision at all levels as well as researching. Her main interests focus on welfare areas such as modernisation of social care services, care policy practices, welfare and disability, comparative social policy and consumerism. During her career she has been a co-editor of the Journal of Sociology and a member of several networks, currently a Scandinavian network group comparing Scandinavian cash-for-care schemes, and a Nordic network for research on privatisation in elder care. Karen is currently working on a new British/Norwegian project into migration and care-work with her base at the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King's College London.
Karen's research findings on cash-for-care systems are published in the following articles:
"In(ter)dependent lives", Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 11(2), 117-130, 2009; "Caring about independent lives", Disability & Society, 25(2), 241-252, 2010.
The third article into relationships will appear in 2012 in Disability & Society, tle: "Towards sustainable hybrid relationships in cash-for-care systems".