The Care Crisis: What Caused It and How Can We End It?

Regular price $ 19.95

by Emma Dowling

Verso Books

04/05/2022, paperback

SKU: 9781786630353


What is care and who is paying for it?

Every one of us will need care at some point in life: social care, healthcare, childcare, eldercare. In the shadow of COVID-19, care has become the most urgent topic of our times. But our care systems are in crisis. Concern for the most vulnerable has been overtaken by an obsession with profits and productivity. How did we end up here?

In an era of economic turmoil, lower birth rates and increased life expectancy mean a larger proportion of the population than ever before is of retirement age. As a result, more people need care, and their numbers are rising. Yet, despite the demand, public services continue to be cut and sold off. Those most in need are left to fend for themselves.

In this groundbreaking book, Emma Dowling charts the multifaceted nature of care in the modern world, from the mantras of self-care and what they tell us about our anxieties to the state of the social care system. The Care Crisis examines the ways that profitability and care are played off against each other, exposing the impacts of financialisation and austerity. Dowling charts the current experiments in short-term solutions now taking place.

In a new afterword, she examines the care crisis through the lens of the Covid-19 pandemic, revealing the devastating consequences of a collision between an ongoing care crisis and the coronavirus.


"Emma Dowling brilliantly combines theory, statistics and on-the-ground experience to argue that contemporary British culture is using inadequate and destructive capitalist 'care fixes' to solve its social problems -- social problems which have themselves emerged from the systematic erosion of our socialised care infrastructures. It is a lucid and eye-opening account which will be extremely useful for lay readers, policymakers, academics and activists." -- Jo Littler, co-author of The Care Manifesto

"The Care Crisis is unique in threading together the many different sites across society where paid and unpaid caring takes place. The book demonstrates how a long-standing subjugation of caring bodies and feelings is entering a new phase. With a focus on the UK context and with relevance to debates beyond it, Emma Dowling offers a powerful analysis of the politics and economics of care, making evident the urgent need to transform the material conditions of our lives." -- Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch, Revolution at Point Zero, and Patriarchy of the Wage

About the Author:

Emma Dowling teaches at the University of Vienna. She has written for New HumanistRed PepperLuXemburgOpenDemocracy and the Financial Times.