In the paper the approach toward work in the care work sector is discussed. Paper asks the question: how does ideology of work operate among care workers? This question is answered in the context of COVID-19 pandemic that revealed a huge amount of hidden reproductive work that during the pandemic was portrayed as essential. Despite its necessity higher remuneration hasn’t followed. Based on that observation the meaning of work in the context of ideology of work is analysed. Informants provide information about: approaches toward work, why they work, what value does the work have for them. They present their working trajectories and experiences with non-standard forms of employment.
Non-standard contracts allow to analyse care workers as precarious workers. This institutional context is important, because in the XX and XXI century care work has become more and more commodified and organised by public and private institutions, however this commodification has been followed by creating precarious occupations. Using the framework of the ideology of work allows to analyse how the need for work in precarious jobs and the exploitation among precarious workers is legitimised in: discourse, biographical narrations and on the individual level of identity.
Research is based on narrative individual interviews with polish care workers (up to 40 y.o.) with non-standard employment, interviews are conducted in the year 2022. Care work is understood as reproductive work, in the framework of marxist theory, especially the feminist marxism. The key context for the analysis is the ambiguous status of reproductive work. On the one hand it is essential for maintaining the reproduction of capitalism by producing and reproducing life, in this context meaning taking care of kids, sick and elders. On the other hand, this kind of work is usually hidden and unpaid. Ideology of work is understood as all meanings and attributions of work that serve legitimation of working order and sustain unequal power relations. Ideology of work is produced in public and individual discourses and is manifested in statements, opinions and behaviours.