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Soc Sci Med. 2004 Jan;58(2):331-41.

The New Zealand health reforms: dividing the labour of care.

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  • 1Anthropology Department, School of Social Sciences, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.


This paper examines the concept of care as it was practised and conceptualised within one hospital group in southern New Zealand during the health reforms. The paper argues that these reforms brought about a division in the labour of care between the broad group of managers, computer analysts, administration officers, and the clinical staff. Aspects of these two empirically derived categories of care are elaborated, as well as the problems associated with each style. While this division in the labour of care is argued to be an unintended local consequence of the New Zealand health reforms, it also represents a more global phenomenon-the abstraction of social life.

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