Track 1: Co-production of care during the COVID-19 pandemic

The sudden advent of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a need of help and care for many citizens, and at the same time the collective crises spurred a widespread desire to ‘do something’ and participate in mutual aid practices. The pandemic disrupted the ordinary caring arrangement in the Danish welfare state. Usually, much care in Denmark is provided by professionals working in public welfare systems, and when some of this care provision stopped due to the corona lockdown volunteers stepped in to take over caring responsibilities. In track 1, we study how citizens experienced and enacted the provision and reception of care in the first phases of the pandemic during the most extensive lockdown so far.

Research questions:

  • What motivated volunteers to take on new caring responsibilities during the first, extensive COVID-19 lockdown? What kind of needs for care did volunteers respond to?
  • How did providers and recipients of care experience the interactional process?
  • Who provided the voluntary care work during the crises? How does the distribution of caring responsibility relate to social, political and economic inequalities? Is there a gender bias, for instance?


  • Quantitative; a national, representative survey (N = 3,389). The survey is organized by Jonas Toubøl and Hjalmar Bang Carlsen, University of Copenhagen, and collected by Statistics Denmark through a random sample of individuals aged 16-99. In addition, a survey was collected through social media, with the same questions concerning provision and reception of help during the first phases of the pandemic (spring 2020).
  • Qualitative; In-depth interviews with 20 individuals who shared their experiences of giving and receiving care during the COVID-19 lockdown. The interviews were conducted by Ditte Andersen and Sine Kirkegaard, VIVE, by telephone due to social distancing requirements.


April 2020, publication:

Andersen, Ditte and Kirkegaard, Sine (2020):

‘The co-production of public health: the case of Denmark’,

Contexts – COVID-19 Policies from around the World (blog).

Available from:

September 2020, workshop presentation:

Andersen, Ditte (2020):

“Who cares? The distribution of unpaid care work during the Covid-19 pandemic and the experience of ‘imposed voluntarism’”

Working paper presented at the workshop “Informally organized civic engagement – a new type of voluntarism?”, organized by Cristine Højgaard at Copenhagen Business School (CBS)

December 2020, publication:

Andersen, Ditte, Kirkegaard, Sine, Toubøl, Jonas and Carlsen, Hjalmar (2020): 

‘Co-Production of Care during COVID-19’. Contexts: Sociology for the Public, 19 (4), 14-17

Available from:

May 2021, paper presentation:

Andersen, Ditte & Toubøl, Jonas (2021):

Gender and care work during the COVID-19 lockdown

Working paper presented at Gender Lunch Talks at the University of Copenhagen, organized by The Coordination for Gender Research, University of Copenhagen.

October 2021, publication:

Andersen, Ditte, Toubøl, Jonas, Kirkegaard, Sine, and Carlsen, Hjalmar (2021):

“Imposed volunteering: Gender and caring responsibilities during the COVID-19 lockdown”, The Sociological Review doi: 10.1177/00380261211052396

Available e-copies;


The research project is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark, Principal Investigator: Ditte Andersen (Grant number: 9038-00038B)



Research project initiated in 2020

Planned continuation until 2024


Collaboration partners:

Jonas Toubøl
Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen
Telephone: +45 35 32 32 68

Hjalmar Bang Carlsen
SODAS/Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen
Telephone: +45 35 33 44 49