The Social Life of Care

14 May 2021 - 15 May 2021

ONLINE

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Convenors

Asiya Islam 
 

Summary

“I’m the primary caregiver for our children.” 

“I care about you.” 

“I wish you would take better care of your health.” 

“We need to care about our environment.”

“Take care!”

Can we imagine, or indeed survive in, a world without care? From public health to domestic arrangements to climate change, the language of care permeates our everyday lives. It is an emotion – one can care deeply about someone or something; it is labour – women disproportionately take on caring and emotional burden; it is a form of relation – children and other dependents are cared for; it may also be a form of protest – to draw upon Audre Lorde, self-care can be political warfare. There are also repeated injunctions about the global ‘crisis of care’. This crisis may emerge from, as feminist theorisation has persistently highlighted, the relegation of care and social reproduction to secondary status in relation to income-generation and financialisation. Where social arrangements develop premised on capital interests, rather than the fundamental necessity of care, there may be lack of availability of care arrangements, time crunch between ‘work’ and ‘life’, climate change triggered by wasteful consumption of limited resources, and so on, indicating a fast-approaching breaking point for individuals and society. Indeed, the coronavirus crisis has prompted a discussion about the practices of care that otherwise remain invisible.

While there is scholarship on care in different disciplines, there is relatively little work to develop conceptual links between social, economic, and ecological care. There is also scarce comparative understanding of varied registers of care around the globe – how is care valued and practiced differently by different people? This two-day interdisciplinary conference will treat ‘care’ as an object/subject of investigation with emphasis on encompassing global formulations of care – hence, ‘The Social Life of Care’. Using the history, contemporary representations, and circulation of discourse of care in diverse contexts as an entry point, the discussion will attempt to extricate the ‘fundamentals of care’ – is care fundamentally non-transactional? Is care fundamentally emotional? Is care fundamentally gendered? From this working definition of care, the conference will engage with varied methodological and analytical approaches to care through the work of scholars from public health, sociology, geography, anthropology, and economics. These discussions will open up space for reflection on the future of care – both a taking account of the implications of a care-less society and a utopian envisioning of a society built upon the foundations of care.

 

Supported by:

   20th Anniversary Logo    Newnham College Cambridge         

 


If you have any specific accessibility needs for this event please get in touch. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.

Conference assistance: conferences@crassh.cam.ac.uk

Call For Papers: The Social Life of Care

Online Conference, 14-15 May 2021

Deadline for abstracts: 21 December 2020

Can we imagine, or indeed survive in, a world without care? From public health to domestic arrangements to climate change, the language of care permeates our everyday lives. It is an emotion – one can care deeply about someone or something; it is labour – women disproportionately take on caring and emotional burden; it is a form of relation – children and other dependents are cared for; it may also be a form of protest – to draw upon Audre Lorde, self-care can be political warfare. There are also repeated injunctions about the global ‘crisis of care’. This crisis may emerge from, as feminist theorisation has persistently highlighted, the relegation of care and social reproduction to secondary status in relation to income-generation and financialisation, as the ongoing Covid19 crisis has demonstrated. This two-day international conference will treat ‘care’ as an object/subject of investigation with particular focus on understanding global registers of care – how is care conceptualised, practiced, and represented in varied social, economic, political, and geographical contexts?

The conference is currently planned as an online event. The organisers are keen to make the most of this format by facilitating an international dialogue on care and would like to particularly encourage participation from scholars based in the Global South.

Please submit abstracts of 200 words by 21 December 2020 using this form. We will notify all applicants by 11 January 2021. For more information, please visit: http://sloc.crassh.cam