Cleaning Covid. Invisible forms of labour in healthcare
Dr Teodora ManeaZoom
Background: The drama of the Covid-19 pandemic revealed the healthcare settings as the main stage where death and illness challenged institutions and individuals. Topics like ‘shortages’ – from equipment to staff – in the battle with Covid and amazing ‘survivals’ channelled the media and created a certain public sensitivity. However, many shades of invisible work are still present in hospital.
The conceptual connection between care and invisibility is based on the fact that care has fundamentally a ‘repairing and maintaining’ function. Care keeps things afloat, rather than producing unique events that can capture attention.
Aim: Many aspects of care are feminine, emotional, under-researched, marginal and voiceless. In order to highlight and better understand those aspects, this paper will analyse and frame the voice of a woman who added her work to the maintenance of a clinical space, while navigating her fears of getting ill or bringing the illness back to her family.
Methods: Using an ethics of care approach, I will analyse a vignette consisting of a cleaner testimony about her work and emotions during the pandemic.