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Citizenship, migration and the value of care in the European Union

This paper examines the relationship between care and mobility. It does so within the specific context of intra‐EU migration and the development of European citizenship. Citizenship of the Union bestows valuable social rights on mobile community nationals. Entitlement under the provisions is not, however, universal but conditional and privileges those in paid work. The paper considers the implications of this emphasis on paid work in two related respects: firstly, the impact on those people who move as part of the ‘male breadwinning family’ but are not engaged in paid work (the partners and families of workers); and secondly those community citizens whose migration decisions are shaped by the need to provide unpaid care to family members. Drawing on empirical research with migrant families, the paper concludes that the concept of work in Community law places those people who are not engaged in paid work (and family carers in particular) in a highly vulnerable and dependent position. Furthermore, the assumption of fixed and predictable dependency relationships within migrant families that underpins the law (and to some degree migration theory) fails to take account of the fluid and complex nature of dependency and caring relationships over the life‐course.

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Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

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Social care online
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