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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/fxdn-8v94


AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Relations of possibility: More-than-human arrangements and the politics of care





How might more-than-human arrangements of care enact counter-hegemonic, reparative, or novel forms of relation? Approaching such configurations as potentially radical projects of world-remaking, this panel seeks ethnographic case studies that explore the possibilities for life otherwise emerging through diverse practices of care. We understand care to be the material, bodily, and relational work of providing for other beings and entities (Mol 2008). As anthropologists have noted, projects of care can bolster systems of domination, depoliticize structural inequalities, and enact ongoing violence (cf. Stevenson 2014; Ticktin 2011). Yet care can also take on resistive forms, becoming a form of “experimentation in how to relate to others” (Parreñas 2018: 7) that enables possibilities for disruption or transformation. We foreground care practices that create or sustain competing logics, instead of (or in addition to) furthering established forms of colonial, biopolitical, and/or economic domination. This panel takes as a central premise that beings are always entangled in one another's existence. Humans live in co-constitutive webs of relation with a wide range of other entities, material and immaterial (cf. Todd 2017). Care is a central site for enacting obligations with and toward others, including in ways that open up space for vulnerability, repair, mutuality, and other modes of “living as well as possible” in troubled times (Haraway 2016; Parreñas 2018; Povinelli 2016; Puig de la Bellacasa 2017; TallBear 2019). As such, we suggest that care is one possible means for crafting shared responsibility, in ways that may exceed dominant political and economic imperatives. The analytic of care, importantly, makes room for the processual and contingent labor of world-making. Acknowledging critiques that some approaches to ontology have been apolitical, essentializing, or appropriative (Bessire and Bond 2014; Todd 2016), we see care as central to understanding how life otherwise is continually made through the uneven relational work of tinkering, attunement, and adjustment with others. While not operating entirely outside systems of power, caring practices may offer contingent possibilities for relations that are “off-kilter, even illegible” (Matza 2018: 25) to dominant norms. Care, as such, has political potential (Puig de la Bellacasa 2017). It is a site for actually existing as well as future possibilities for living with and living well. Papers on this panel cover a range of ways of relating with more-than-human worlds, including with animal and plant species, as well as with animate matter and technologies.


Transcript English (automatic)

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