Bodies in Focus: the implications for policy in aged care

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Abstract for the Emerging Health Policy Research Conference 2009.Bodies in Focus ' the implications for policy in aged care Dr Maree Bernoth - Lecturer, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Key words: aged care; safety; accreditation; discourses of the body; neoliberalism.The inquiry, which was the basis of my PhD research, was focused on the impact of discourses of embodiment in keeping aged care workers safe in manual handling situations. The thinking underpinning the research is that if the aged care workers are disembodied being, as previous research has demonstrated, bringing the body into focus through language may enable aged care workers to work safely.However, this new discourses of the body shattered the dominant discourses in aged care revealing paradoxes, ironies and subversion. As the language evolved, the aged care workers began speaking the conditions of aged care work. Aged care is about caring for bodies but the dominant discourses potentiate the phenomena of the absent body. Bodies brought into focus are not safe. They are exposed to other dangers. Language is the means of revealing the dangers and subversions and reveals the distorted image presented to statutory authorities charged with monitoring standards and auditing claims for funds. The subversion reveals the negative of the Panopticon, a mirror image where the observed are aware of the observation so can distort what is being seen, they can present the image expected by authorities. It is a distorted image, a mirror image. This paper will articulate the impact of aged care policies and demonstrate how neoliberalism breaks down the self as embodied, potentiating the unsafe nature of aged care work and the danger of living in an aged care facility.The significance of the paper relates to the Aged Care Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Health Policy Researchers Conference
EditorsStephen Leeder
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherUniversity of Sydney (Menzies Centre for Health Policy)
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventEmerging Health Policy Researchers Conference - Menzies Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 19 Aug 2009 → …


ConferenceEmerging Health Policy Researchers Conference
Period19/08/09 → …


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