“Carework refers, simply, to the work of caring for others, including unpaid care for family members and friends, as well as paid care for others. Caring work includes taking care of children, the elderly, the sick, and the disabled, as well as doing domestic work such as cleaning and cooking. As reproductive labor, carework is necessary to the continuation of every society. By deploying the term “carework,” scholars and advocates emphasize the importance of recognizing that care is not simply a natural and uncomplicated response to those in need, but actually hard physical, mental, and emotional work, which is often unequally distributed through society (Meyer 2000). Because care tends to be economically devalued, many scholars who study carework emphasize the skill required for care, and the importance of valuing care.
The scholarship on carework addresses several key issues. Understanding the balance in care provision among families, states, and markets is a central concern. There are significant issues about the relationship between family provision of care and market provision of care (paid versus unpaid care). The state plays its own role, in terms of providing care, supporting care, and encouraging care. Many carework scholars call for the state to play a larger role in care provision, both to eliminate gendered expectations for care provision within families and to subsidize provision due to the expense of and demand for high-quality care. These issues of family, state, and market have played out within the feminist welfare state literature for decades, and have become more integrated with carework scholarship that focuses more specifically on the experiences of the provision of care (Meyer 2000; Daly 2001).” (Misra, 2007)