“They Cannot Boss Me Around”: Manifesting Agency in Care Homes in Goa, India
Abstract This chapter seeks to provide a deeper understanding of agency among the residents of care homes in India, who are constrained by their limited access to institutional power and control. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in three care homes in Goa, India, including participant observation and interviews, this chapter discusses everyday forms of agency, as manifested by the residents within the frameworks of power prevalent in the homes. My discussion throughout is built on two pillars—agency as a manifestation of identity, and agency as a form of resistance. Accounts from the residents were explored through them. By adopting a viewpoint which neither unnecessarily romanticizes the struggles of the residents nor falls prey to arguments about residents as passive victims, I have uncovered and understood better the residents’ stories of preserving their individual identity through their agency within the surrounding framework of power.
Keywords agency, qualitative methods, residents, India, care homes