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Love’s Labours: Good work, care work and a mutual economy

Love’s Labours: Good work, care work and a mutual economy

Hannah Rich’s report exploring what ‘love’ means in the context of care work and how rediscovering it might lead us to value care work more highly. 15/04/2024

About the report 

There is a crisis facing the adult social care sector in the UK at present, which is not only economic in nature, but also relational. The devaluation of paid care work in economic terms stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of what care is, what work is and even what love is.  

Different workspaces, cultures and working conditions have the power to create different kinds of human relationships and forms of human community and in so doing, create different arenas for ‘love’ to flourish. Social care is therefore a key arena for the intersection between ‘love’ and ‘work’.  

The intersection between love, work and care offers a way of reimagining how caring professions are valued. Further, the integration of Christian theological ideas of love and dignity allows a broader, more holistic policy debate than the current economistic one.  

Drawing together sociological and theological literature with the first–hand experiences of those working in the social care sector, this report explores what ‘love’ means in this context and how rediscovering it might lead us to value care work differently and more highly.

You can read the full report here.

Learn more about our Work Shift series

Working Five to Nine is the second report in Theos’ 2024 Work Shift series, exploring how a renewed focus on the relational elements of work could improve the labour market. 

You can read about the Work Shift series here.

You can read the first report in the series, The Ties That Bind by Tim Thorlby, here.

You can read the second report in the series, Working Five to Nine by Paul Bickley, here.

You can read Paul Bickley’s 2021 report on humanising the labour market here

Image by Nuttapong punna on Shutterstock

Hannah Rich

Hannah Rich

Hannah joined Theos in 2017. She is a senior researcher working on theology and economic inequality. She is the author of ‘A Torn Safety Net’ (2022).

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