Exploring Potentialities of (Health)Care in Glasgow and Beyond: Negotiations of Social Security Among Czech- and Slovak-Speaking Migrants
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This paper draws on an anthropological perspective on social security to explore the complex ways in which Czech- and Slovak-speaking migrants living in Glasgow negotiated their healthcare concerns and built security in the city and beyond. It is based on 12 months of ethnographic research conducted in 2012 with migrants who moved to Glasgow after 2004. Inquiring into healthcare issues and the resulting insecurities from the migrants’ perspective and in their everyday lives, the paper demonstrates how these issues were largely informed by migrants’ experiences of ‘uncaring care’ in Glasgow, rather than due to their lack of knowledge or understanding of the Scottish/UK health system. Furthermore, the findings reveal how these migrants drew on multiple resources and forms of support and care – both locally and transnationally – in order to mitigate and overcome their health problems. At the same time, the analysis also highlights constraints and limitations to the actors’ care negotiations, thus going beyond a functional approach to social security, which tends to overlook instances of ‘unsuccessful’ or unrealised care arrangements. In conclusion, I propose that migrants’ care negotiations can be best understood as an ongoing process of exploring potentialities of care by actively and creatively opening up, probing, rearranging and trying out sources of support and care in their efforts to deal with perceived risks and insecurities in their everyday lives.
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