Integrating a New Generation Workforce in Publicly Funded Domiciliary Aged Care: A Methodological Case Study Concerning Research into Cultural Emergence

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The research applies a methodology, recently developed for the study of social formations (James 2006), to an issue concerning the sustainability of intergenerational relations in the publicly funded domiciliary aged care field. It uses autobiographical narrative data collected in semi-structured interviews. Generations, like the social formations of the nation and state, are socially constructed, and must work together in a domiciliary aged care setting. This methodology brings into focus the categorical ideals of temporality, spatiality, embodiment and ways of knowing. Successful negotiation of these ideals in the domiciliary aged care field will represent the iterative improvisation of relevant cultural objects and is essential for the sustainability of the field, because skilled workers are in short supply. The definition of culture gives equal weight to agency, structure and the intra and inter-generational relationships within which cultural objects are improvised. The relevance of this methodology to the research problem is argued through reference to scholarly literature from the fields of social theory, theoretical psychology and anthropology and current debates concerning classical social theory, culture, creativity, critical realism, new/material dialectics and social constructionism. The methodology facilitates this focused, synchronous case study concerning cultural emergence.


Keywords: Social Formations, Generations, Domiciliary Aged Care, Government, Methodology
Stream: Psychology, Cognitive Science and Behavioural Sciences
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Application of Engaged Social Research Principles in Inter-generational Aged Care Workforce Research


Peter Nixon

Doctoral Candidate, School of Communication
Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

My professional aged care work began in the mid 1970’s when I worked in the Port Adelaide Central Mission residential aged care program and was involved in committee work with the people who initiated Western Domiciliary Care Service, which was something of a pioneer in the Australian context. It later became part of Domiciliary Care South Australia (DCSA). My employment at DCSA began in 1985 and I have worked there in allied health, case management, supervision, research, teaching and agency management roles. I am an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Social Administration and Social Work at Flinders University and have been a researcher in the Department of Public Health, Flinders University for over two years. My combined research experience spans the fields of qualitative and quantitative research in epidemiology, gerontology, work/life balance, work and well-being, program evaluation and social health. DCSA and the University of South Australia provide financial support for this doctoral research.

Ref: I08P0312