Deconstructing the 'social bath': Help with bathing at home for older and disabled people

Twigg, Julia (1997) Deconstructing the 'social bath': Help with bathing at home for older and disabled people. Journal of Social Policy, 26 . pp. 211-232. ISSN 0047-2794. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not available from this repository. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL


Assistance with bathing at home for older and disabled people has long been an area of service tension and ambiguity, Lying across the principal faultline of community care, that of the medical/social divide, it is at the heart of current debates over welfare provision, But exploring the meaning of the 'social bath', as it is termed in the field, also challenges some of the traditional ways in which community care has been described and analysed particularly within the discipline of social policy, Bathing involves the negotiation of intimacy and the management of the body, and as such entails aspects of being and of social exchange that have not traditionally been part of the standard, rather rationalistic and disembodied account of social policy, Part of the aim of the paper is to redress this omission. The article explores and deconstructs the three axes within which the 'social bath' is defined, The first is the boundary between the medical and the social; and the article outlines the complex and shifting ways, both institutional and ideological, in which this boundary is constructed, The second axis concerns the social meaning of the tasks themselves; and the paper explores recent historical and sociological literature concerning the body, washing, touching and nakedness. The third axis relates to the site where these practices take place: the home, The article explores the significance of home and the power that resides in private and domestic space as opposed to the public medical space of the ward or nursing home.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Social Policy
Depositing User: Julia Twigg
Date Deposited: 05 May 2009 09:20
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2014 14:14
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):