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Care parading as service: Negotiating recognition and equality in user‐controlled personal assistance

This article addresses aspects of the relationship between disabled people and their personal assistants within the user‐controlled personal assistance programme in Norway (BPA — brukerstyrt personlig assistanse). Within this programme, a disabled person and her/his personal assistant (PA) form a working relationship in which the disabled person functions as a supervisor for her/his PA. The purpose of the programme is to enable the supervisor to live as independently as possible, equal to any other member of society. In a study conducted about the work relationship between physically disabled persons and their PAs, we found that many supervisors wanted service, not care, from their PAs. Furthermore, the supervisors’ image of the ideal PA was one who was invisible. In this article, we wish to address the tensions between supervisors’ hard‐won rights to personal assistance in order to live independent lives and the gendered work‐related implications of positioning PAs as invisible service workers within this work relationship.

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