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Dirty linen, liminal spaces and later life: Meanings of laundry in care home design and practice

Twigg, Julia, Buse, Christina E., Nettleton, Sarah, Martin, Daryl (2018) Dirty linen, liminal spaces and later life: Meanings of laundry in care home design and practice. Sociological Research Online, 23 (4). pp. 711-727. ISSN 1360-7804. E-ISSN 1360-7804. (doi:10.1177/1360780418780037) (KAR id:67039)

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This paper explores the design and practice of laundries and laundry work in care home settings. This is an often-overlooked aspect of the care environment, yet one that shapes lived experiences and meanings of care. It draws on ethnographic and qualitative data from two UK based Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded studies: Buildings in the Making, a study of architects designing care homes for later life, and Dementia and Dress, a project exploring the role of clothing in dementia care. Drawing together these studies, the paper explores the temporality and spatiality of laundry work, contrasting designers’ conceptions of laundry in terms of flows, movement and efficiency with the lived bodily reality of laundry work, governed by the messiness of care and ‘body time’. The paper examines how laundry is embedded within the meanings and imaginaries of the care home as a ‘home’ or ‘hotel’, and exposes the limitations of these imaginaries. We explore the significance of laundry work for supporting identity, as part of wider assemblages of care. The article concludes by drawing out implications for architectural design and sociological conceptions of care.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1360780418780037
Uncontrolled keywords: laundry, care homes, architecture, design, care work, ageing, dementia, clothing
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Julia Twigg
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 09:21 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Twigg, Julia:
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