Gender Stereotypes and the Reshaping of Stigma in Rehabilitative Eldercare

Maya Christiane Flensborg Jensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Rehabilitation policies are becoming increasingly popular in eldercare as a means to ensure dignity and reduce costs. This paper examines the implications of rehabilitation within Danish homecare work, a type of work that is often stigmatized due to its associations with low-status ‘dirty’ body work in old people's homes. The paper combines two research traditions: studies of dirty work and studies of body work. It draws on observations and focus groups in Denmark to explore how the introduction of rehabilitation changes the work of care workers, and how such changes are associated with a potential reshaping of stigma. In contrast to previous research, this paper shows that although rehabilitation was partly introduced to reduce stigma of this type of work, the practice of rehabilitation paradoxically reinforces the stigma that it attempts to manage. Thus, the analysis helps to improve our understanding of the ambiguous and varying ways rehabilitative eldercare reshapes and reinforces stigma and gender stereotypes among women who do ‘dirty’ body work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)656-674
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • body work
  • dirty work
  • gender
  • rehabilitative eldercare
  • stigma

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