This research investigates representations of emotion work and emotional labor in caregiving, in the medium of graphic novels. The study is based on a collection of six contemporary graphic novels that discuss the relationships between older adults who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s and their family caregivers and professional caretakers. Family caregivers are caught in a complicated web of family relationships and new, emerging caregiving roles. We rely on thematic content analysis to identify the main forms of emotional agency, structural constraints and trade-offs in family and professional situations. Emotional agency in caregiving is portrayed as situated, though emerging from divergent definitions of the situations for caretakers and patients; it is embedded in the family system, which is contrastively portrayed with the procedural, less empathic medical institution, and also with the general mass media portrayal of old age. Graphic novels contribute to the emotional socialization of people anticipating situations of suffering, or caring for mental disorders associated with old age.
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