This chapter introduces a contextual, theoretical, and methodological framework for analyzing contemporary care work. Building on long-standing feminist critiques, Buch advances the concept of generative labor to analyze the social meanings and effects of daily care practices. The introduction examines the role of independence as a foundational value driving care policy and practice. It argues that paid care work generates independent persons by capitalizing on racial, class, and gender inequality. The introduction also describes the ethnographic fieldwork upon which the book is based.
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