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Title: Understanding care in its context : a case study on residential child- and youth-care in the Mexican-American border zone
Author: Meichsner, Sylvia
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 3503
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2017
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In 2007-08, the Mexican-American border town of Tijuana showed an unusually high density of residential care settings for children and young people, typically founded and run by members of religious congregations based in the USA. Drawing on concepts from childhood and youth studies, international development, sociology of religion and urban sociology as analytical devices, this study centralises its view on one of these care homes; while at the same time exploring the broader geographical, political, economic and social context in which the high density of care homes occurs. Recurring themes are social order and the various initiatives to establish, maintain or change it, as well as interactions between members of different social groups that are shaped by and based in misrecognitions (‘non-encounter’). The areas of originality of this study are threefold. First of all, it integrates analysis at micro and macro levels. At the micro level it explores the institutional set up, staffing arrangements and the experiences of children and young people within the institution. Structures and mechanisms of governance, daily life in the institution and the social meanings ordering it are examined; allowing for a microscopic view that is embedded in a macro level analysis. The latter is concerned with recording factors such as migration into and through the border zone, the constitution of urban space that is specific to Tijuana, drug commerce and its consequences, poverty and inequality, conceptualizations of gender roles, principles of aid work, the structure of the religious field, including faith-based charitable activities taking place, and the formal and informal ramifications pertaining to the local economy. Secondly, this piece of work is a qualitative longitudinal study, employing an innovative multi-method research strategy consisting in real life and long-term online ethnography, child-led research methods, interviews and document analysis. Thirdly, the concept of the non-encounter is introduced to describe social interaction taking place under false premises. Key findings include the identification of peculiarities of the overall social and political situation, of the particular features of the urban agglomeration of Tijuana and of the religious field and the ways in which they relate to each other. Additionally, there is the insight that this unique combination is particularly conducive to the emergence and persistence of the kind of child- and youthcare under examination. The main argument is that residential child- and youthcare is a moral and political endeavour, undertaken in pursuit of specific aims and goals and informed by the norms and values of those carrying it out. Also, that residential child- and youthcare needs conditions conducive to its existence to spread and flourish. Located in time and space these vary in their specific characteristics across the different environments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology