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Depletion, intersectionality and the limits of social policy: child carers in Mexico City

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This article makes a dual contribution. First, it adds an intersectional perspective to studies of depletion through social reproduction, examining the depletion experienced by children and adolescents caring for their younger siblings in Mexico City. The depletion that child carers experience is shaped by age, low income, other forms of work in and outside the home, and gender. Second, we explore the limitations of cash transfer welfare programmes by examining their failure to address the needs of children who provide care within the family and show how misperceptions by social policymakers of the experiences of young carers limit the capacity of social policies to make a difference to their well-being. The article underlines the importance of the greater recognition of social reproductive work by poor children and adolescents, and of the intersectional depletion that they experience, both within social policy and in academic research.
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Keywords: Mexico; child carers; depletion; intersectionality; sibling care; social policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of York, UK 2: World Bank, USA 3: University of Warwick, UK

Publication date: June 2020

This article was made available online on April 27, 2020 as a Fast Track article with title: "Depletion, intersectionality and the limits of social policy: child carers in Mexico City".

More about this publication?
  • The European Journal of Politics and Gender (EJPG) is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes international, cutting-edge research in the broad field of politics and gender. EJPG is the flagship journal of the European Conference on Politics and Gender (ECPG).

    EJPG is firmly embedded in global politics and gender scholarship, its scope is not limited to Europe. EJPG aims to advance gender and politics research in all its diversity. To this end it publishes Research Articles in the wide field of gender and politics, including a variety of geographical and thematic foci, methods and epistemological traditions. Contributions may rely on single-country case studies as much as cross-national comparative work or theoretical debates. The core criterion for publication is innovation and rigorous argumentation. Articles must have a clear 'take home message'.

    EJPG understands gender as a political phenomenon that shapes power relations. Gender is contextual and is influenced by the intersection of multiple social categories and identities. The processes produce patterns of political inclusion and exclusion that are sometimes immediately visible, but often also hidden. EJPG therefore studies formal and informal components of politics in local, national, transnational and global realms. Subfields encompass, but are not limited to: social movements; representation; political participation; governance; public policy; the European Union; political economy; conflict and development; citizenship; LGBTQI politics; sexuality; and international relations.

    EJPG solicits State of the Art pieces, which provide timely analyses of developments in the many subfields of politics and gender. These contributions focus on salient and contemporary themes. What are new research puzzles and dilemmas? Finally, EJPG includes a Gender Updates section, in which short descriptive pieces present data or analyses related to elections, policy changes, and public debates on gender-related issues across Europe. This section is a valuable resource for scholars, students, activists, and practitioners who may use this data for research and interventions in policy and public debate.

    For questions and pre-submission enquiries, please contact the editorial team at: [email protected]

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