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“Cross-Disability”

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We are interested in the ways that the concept of “cross-disability” has become an unquestioned value and goal in development and advocacy work: organizations, programs, and advocacy efforts are supposed to be “cross-disability” in nature. Disability activists and organizations in India often proclaim that they are “cross-disability.” As such, commonly-used concepts such as “accessibility” and “disability rights” do not necessarily …

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Competence for Citizenship

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White ants are a delicacy in the subregion Acholi in northern Uganda. Since fresh ones are available only once a year when they become flying roamers, one 100-kg sack of ants can bring in as much money as a teacher in a public school earns within two months. Patrick was thrilled to be able

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Enacting Dependence

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One summer evening while I was conducting fieldwork on sign language interpreting in Hanoi, Vietnam, the board members of the Hanoi Deaf Cultural Group (HDCG1), all of whom are Deaf2, and Chi, a hearing Ha Noi Sign Language (HNSL3) interpreter, gathered around a long wooden table at one of Hanoi’s many upscale coffee shops. …

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Care in the middle voice

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When thinking about care, it is easy to assume an asymmetrical structure with two fixed two roles: the care-giver and the cared-for. It is likewise easy to assume that the former is active while the latter is passive (cf. Borneman 1997). In attending to the lives and worlds of Ugandans with cognitive disabilities, however, I learned that there is more …

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On Responsibility (and Laziness)

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I am a cultural anthropologist who conducts research with deaf children and their families in Mexico City. Echarle ganas is a Mexican colloquial expression that roughly translates to “you have to give it your all.” “Échale ganas!” or “work at it!” is often heard as a rallying cry when things are not going as desired. This saying is …

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The Work of Care

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I have been conducting research on intellectual disability and care practices among families of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in Porto Alegre, Brazil, since 2014.1 Despite the many differences in family arrangements, class, race, and sociocultural background, most of my interlocutors share a common concern: “Who will care for my child once I am no longer able to do so?” As …