This article presents and discusses some characteristic features of welfare work in Italy, to try and understand better some of the challenges that the welfare system is facing today and, still more, will be facing in the near future. To deal with this subject synthetically, I propose to start from two central elements in the development of the Italian labour market in this field. The first, in the social field, is that of the unofficial «carers», that is, the private care work provided mainly by immigrant women to old people who are not self-sufficient and to the disabled. The second, in the health field, is that of the acceleration of the professionalisation process in the last ten years. These two phenomena will involve discussion of the labour market, regulation of the professions and professionalism.
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