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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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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 …

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A Reader’s Guide to the Anthropology of Ethics and Morality – Part III

Editor’s note: We asked several scholars which readings they would recommend to students or colleagues interested in familiarizing themselves with the anthropology of ethics and morality. This is the response we received from Jeannette Pols, Socrates professor ‘Social Theory, Humanism and Materialities’ at the Department of Anthropology, program ‘Health, Care and the Body’, at the University of Amsterdam. 

Empirical

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Thinking pain

Care worker Annika announces that she does not want to go to Mr Moran. “He always complains.” “I’ll go”, says her colleague Robin, and turning to me he says, “I don’t have the intern today so you can come along if you want to see for yourself how it goes”. We head off to assemble the materials for the morning …

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Taking part in and being part of giving birth: Enacting participation in a midwife-led birth situation

According to her midwife Jana, Mira’s was a textbook birth: it was quite fast, even for a second birth, and proceeded without any complications. In reflecting on her attendance at Mira’s birth, which I had witnessed the day before, Jana emphasised that her task during birth is only to observe: “Observing, keeping an objective view, and recognising what the situation …

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Refraction of participation

Refraction of participation

What does it mean to participate? What does participation do?[1]

The etymology of ‘participation’ traces from the Latin word participationem, which translates as ‘sharing, partaking, make partaker of’.[2] The word is composed of the Latin pars (a part, piece, division), and the stem capere (to take). To participate is thus to take part.

We …