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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/817f-8412

technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Factory Accidents and Reconstructive Surgery: Violence, Care, and Surgical Expertise in South India





This panel draws on the motif of “over care,” understood as both an empirical phenomenon and an analytical impasse. Some interventions that are regarded as “care” are often excessive•“too much, too soon.” For example, well-meaning preventative biosecurity measures enacted with an abundance of caution often go overboard in their pursuit of safeguarding public health (Lakoff & Collier 2008). Similarly, sports medicine operates to not only promote wellbeing (human and more-than-human), but enhance and maximize bodily performance in ways that can be extreme, counteractively exposing athletes to bodily risk and injury (Howe 2004). What are the quantums and temporalities of “care”? How is it that efforts to safeguard, promote, or enhance life in many cases come to undermine them? This panel brings together papers that detail how certain presumed solutions in medicine, industry, sport, and agriculture that are glossed as “care” are often excessive. Beyond ethnographic explorations of “over care,” we are also interested in the analytical potential of care itself. Anthropological studies have demonstrated that care is situated, manifesting in myriad ways across diverse contexts (e.g., Mol et al. 2010; Puig de la Bellacasa 2017; Yates-Doerr 2014). This suggests that the anthropological project is one of pluralizing grounded accounts of care, not only in places where we go looking for it•such as the clinic•but also in more expansive and immediate locations (Yates-Doerr 2014). Situated “microanalyses” (Biehl & Locke 2010) have found care to be wanting and harmful (Ticktin 2011; Stevenson 2014; Garcia 2015; Biehl 2015), while also potentially resistive, redemptive, and meaningful (Haraway 2016; Puig de la Bellacasa 2017; Parreñas 2018). As anthropological studies of care have exploded so too have care’s analytical figurations. To name but a few: care emerges within attentive affective encounters, a sympathetic gesture that leaves “ineffable traces” (Cubellis 2020); care manifests as pragmatic “tinkering” (Mol et al. 2010) or “facilitation,” “a processural interaction between bodies” directed towards particular ends (Wolf-Meyer 2020); care is that which invigorates and establishes lively, more expansive, potentially resistive forms of interconnected being in the world (Parreñas 2018; Dumit 2014; Haraway 1988). Building on these important contributions, this panel considers the idea that care has become a splurging and unwieldy analytic in anthropology. We ask, have analyses of care themselves become excessive? Are we over-reading or over-analogizing “care” across a diversity of empirical happenings? Has “care” become so expansive that it risks meaning everything, and therefore nothing? In an effort to fruitfully encapsulate the multitude of diverse registers involved in the relationships and provision of excessive “care” in ordinary life, this panel brings together a series of loosely related, precise, and grounded analytics, a “lexicon beyond care.” Lexicons tether together heterogenous yet related ideas, an assemblage that can serve as “sourcebook, clarification, diagnostic, and stimulus” (Schneider-Mayerson & Bellamy 2019, xiv; Howe & Pandian 2020). In developing a richer vocabulary for the study of care, we will explore how anthropology might move beyond care as an analytic, and in particular investigate how forms of excessive “care” can paradoxically render life more vulnerable.


Transcript English (automatic)

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