Contested Agency of Young Carers Within Generational Order: Older Daughters and Sibling Care in Istanbul

  • Başak AkkanEmail author


Residing on an empirical study carried out in Istanbul with young female carers (daughters who share the care responsibility of their younger siblings with their mothers), this article explores the care provider positioning of a child by contemplating the dilemma of empowerment/vulnerability in relation to generational order and relational agency of the child. The care responsibility within the course of childhood locates a particular intergenerational experience. Understanding this experience from the standpoint of children contributes to the conceptualisation of childhood as a contested, yet relational space of interdependencies along the generational order. The study demonstrates that sharing the caring responsibility of a family member brings both empowerment and vulnerability for young carers that is negotiated within the entangled boundaries of the childhood and adulthood. The emerging themes pertaining to the empowering features of caring duties are solidarity between the mother and older daughter being/feeling capable of doing things without being supervised by an adult whereas the emerging themes pertaining to vulnerability are physical and emotional (anxiety) burdens of caring for younger sibling and the difficulty older daughter's have in balancing their own needs against their siblings' needs. The narratives of young female carers reveal the solidaristic as well as the conflicting features of the intergenerational relations (childhood in relation to adulthood) along the lines of empowerment and vulnerability that problematizes the interdependencies and agency of the child within the generational order.


Young female carer Generational order Relational agency Sibling care Empowerment Vulnerability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bogaziçi University Social Policy ForumIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Interdisciplinary Social ScienceUtrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands

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