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Dr. Elifcan Celebi to participate in new project by the Cologne International Forum (Innovative Tandem Collaboration)

Dr. Mert Koçak (Istanbul, Turkey) together with Dr. Elifcan Celebi on "Gender, Migration and Digitalization of Care Work: Discourse Analysis of Care Service Websites" (1 January 2024 - 31 December 2024)

In the wake of a global crisis of reproduction combatted with COVID-19 (De Henau and Himmelweit 2021), care chains gained increasing importance representing the international division of labor between (more and less wealthy) countries and the reconfiguration of social reproduction across borders and households. The key mechanism is that a shortage of caregivers in one place is reflected in the labor market as a demand and is managed by the transfer of care labor force from another place (Wichterich 2023: 430). Feminist political economists explored the contradictions and patterns of unequal exchange of global care chains at transnational and international levels (Connell 2008; Yeates 2012; Lutz and Pallenga-Möllenbeck 2012). However, the flux of migrant care workers within the European Union and the care platforms linking care demand with supply is an under-explored topic, even though the aging population and increased women’s employment make the topic more salient.

To highlight the importance of digitalized migration routes, Dr. Elifcan Çelebi and Dr. Mert Koçak will collaborate on the project and conduct discourse analysis on a website that “showcases” immigrant care workers and their link to the labor market: This website mediates the relations between care providers and customers, allowing customers to survey through a list of care providers and then contact them for care work. Dr. Elifcan Çelebi and Dr. Mert Koçak will use discourse analysis as a preliminary research method to identify repeated gendered and racialized keywords, phrases, and metaphors that describe the care workers and their services. By doing so, they aim to gain an understanding of how “the user front” of digital care platforms may function. They will subscribe as both customers and care providers to experience all sides of the user front.

They will also organize a workshop titled “Gender, Migration, and Digitalization of Care Work” at the University of Cologne. The topics to be covered in the workshop will be the digitalization of social relations, migration in the EU, care work in the EU, and healthcare for care workers. In the final panel, they will present the result of discourse analysis. They also want to make sure that the results of their collaboration will be more sustainable. That is why they would like to create an 8-episode podcast series sharing what they have learned through preliminary discourse analysis, workshop presentations, and guest lecturing.


See the projects appearance on the Cologne International Forum's website here.