Combining sandwich care with work: Interviews with Chinese young working sandwich caregivers

He, Ling (2023) Combining sandwich care with work: Interviews with Chinese young working sandwich caregivers. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis explores the caregiving experience of young sandwich caregivers in work. Mainstream sandwich care literature, due to its simplistic view on care as mainly involves instrumental and tangible forms, largely neglects the scope and complexity of sandwich care. The key aim of this thesis is therefore to make further theoretical and empirical developments to the conceptualisation of care. Theoretically, this research contributes to extending the theorisation of care in sandwich care literature by exploring the aspects of care that remain hidden and under-researched. Concerning complexity of caregiving, the gendered power dynamics inherent in a variety of caring relations and caregivers’ context-bounded agency are investigated. From an empirical perspective, the contributions are twofold as the results not only highlight the struggle experienced by young workers, but also offer insights about caregiving and dynamic relations in Chinese Confucian context, which has not been developed adequately in the field of sandwich care.

This thesis adopts a qualitative approach following symbolic interactionism. Using data collected from 40 sandwich caregivers in work, the thesis makes theoretical contributions to the conceptualisation of care and sandwich caregivers through perspectives of hidden elements and power-laden nature of care. The findings demonstrate that care involves a variety of forms, and the hidden forms (i.e., technological and lingual care) play significant roles in shaping young workers’ experience of care. Combining sandwich care with work is challenging at the stage when parents/parents-in-law are relatively young and when children are dependent, as young workers are facing the unique sandwichness caused by both present and future worries. Yet, young workers do not always unthinkingly perform care and work. Importantly, they have certain level of agency in navigating the complexity of care through reciprocal relationships in the workplace and family realms, and by crafting certain impressions on audiences. This agency, however, has largely been constrained by structural and cultural factors and with gendered implications, reflecting Confucian values surrounding respect to hierarchy, and usually the gendered hierarchy characterising women’ subordination and men’s privilege.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Johansson, Dr. Marjana and Okay-Somerville, Dr. Belgin
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83885
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2023 15:44
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 15:44
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83885

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