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2019, Thu, Apr 25

Who Do We Care For?

Lisa Baraitser, Kaushik Sunder Rajan

Care is the activity that keeps bodies together, whether those of an organism, a social group, or an entire planet. Who performs this labor and how they do it, therefore, says a great deal about the organization of human social structures and their values. This is particularly true when we think of the different dimensions of care practices. Psychosocial caretaking, for instance, requires radically different approaches than practices of ecological care or political support systems do.

Anthropologist Kaushik Sunder Rajan looks at how the spirit of constitutionalism has judicialized health in South Africa while highlighting the multiplicity of “we’s” at stake in the process of shaping who and what are subjects of care and work. Psychosocial theorist Lisa Baraitser focuses on the notion of the accidental—of going off course—as understood from psychoanalytic approaches to care, which is produced through defensive psychic structures.