Settings in social work may be associated with spatial stigma. This study uses the case of a highly stigmatised setting to investigate ways of ascribing positive characteristics to tainted contexts. Guided by symbolic interactionism, the aim is to analyse how residents in ‘wet’ eldercare facilities manage to view these in a positive light. Wet eldercare facilities are designed for older people with long-term substance use problems, where abstinence is abandoned for well-being. Forty-two residents of four such facilities were interviewed, revealing how the hybrid status of these places enabled residents to frame their situation as being ‘in the right place’, but for different reasons. Some framed the place as a care home, others as an ordinary flat. Both frames were made credible by the formal hybrid organisation: Swedish wet eldercare facilities are part of the eldercare system, and residents’ rooms are formally regarded as flats. The study suggests that it is social work’s (often neglected) responsibility to counter spatial stigma and improve residents’ sense of dignity. Based on promising practices in the Swedish system, the study presents three strategies that enable residents in nominally tainted settings to ascribe positive characteristics to the place where they live.
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- Socialt arbete
- Harm reduction
- older people