Class and culture in the making of an assisted living market

Guillermina Altomonte

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article examines the growing industry of elite assisted living in Chile, which represents a break with a longstanding culture of care provided at home by family members and domestic workers. How does this market, locally associated with deprivation, abandonment and standardization, become a legitimate option for the rich clientele it caters to? Drawing on 40 interviews with consumers and providers of institutional care, I show that the market for assisted living is moralized through material and symbolic continuities with forms of class privilege that residents feel slipping away. Respondents interpret assisted living as an extension of the domestic work previously consumed in clients' homes, they reframe care as an exclusive commodity and they highlight residents' entitlement to bend organizational structures and retain authority over space and labor. These findings shed light on the relationship of class to processes of cultural legitimation by revealing the extent to which not only the affective meanings of 'home', but its social hierarchies, play a role in moralizing markets of care.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)741-765
    Number of pages25
    JournalSocio-Economic Review
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2023


    • aging
    • care
    • class
    • domestic labor
    • economic anthropology
    • economic sociology
    • legitimacy
    • moral markets
    • Z1 cultural economics

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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