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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: Events


Kinship, Chronic Illness and Responsibility of Care

Kinship, Chronic Illness and Responsibility of Care
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Date and Time
5th Dec 2019 09:00 - 5th Dec 2019 17:00
Violet Laidlaw Room, Chrystal Macmillan Building

This workshop invites anthropologists who examine kin and relational care among patients with chronic conditions across diversity of social, cultural, economic, humanitarian and institutional contexts. Care, understood as a relational and ethical/moral practice (Black 2018) informs practices and ethics of kin and relatedness. Indeed, care can be definitive of relatedness and kinship (Borneman 1997). Situating the exploration of ethics of care alongside the inquiry to kinship furthers the inquiry beyond the normative designations of kinship as “good” (Carsten 2013). Critical examination of care exposes not only “moral striving” (Zigon and Throop 2014) for the good of others, but also conflicts, demands, and injustices underlying kin and relatedness.

Chronic illness demands extensive care in patients’ everyday lives, and often redefines what it means to be a person, a family member and a carer. It reorganizes subjectivities, affective and embodied intensities of familial relations in patient’s everyday lives, and their temporalities. It calls into attention the responsibilities of care and their transformations. Borrowing Levinas’ notion of responsibility as an ethical orientation of subjectivity towards the others, the workshop invites papers to reflect on the ways in which care for chronic illness challenges, reinforces and shapes the modes, practices and ethics of kinship and relatedness. The concept of responsibility here serves to interrogate the ethical orientations of intimacy, relationality and its infinity, and obligation in lives of families with chronic conditions. It also allows to explore how families navigate the normative moral and medical regimes eliciting responsibilities amidst chronic suffering.

Discussants: Janet Carsten, Jacob Copeman, Ian Harper, Dr. Alice Street and Dr Lotte Buch-Segal. 

Those interested in attending, should register on the Eventbrite website:


9.30 -10.00      Welcome and Introduction

                        Emilija Zabiliūtė

10.00-11.00     Session 1

Liana E. Chace (SOAS University of London), The Double-Edged Sword of ‘Community’ in Community   Mental Health: Reflections from Nepal’s Himalayan Foothills.

Francesco Diodati (University of Milan-Bicocca), The Recognition of the Fatigue of Caring. Redefining the Boundaries of Ethical Responsibilities Toward Others in Need.

                        Discussant: Alice Street (University of Edinburgh)

                        Chair: Emilija Zabiliūtė (University of Edinburgh)

11.00-11.20     Coffee

11.20-12.40     Session 2

Hannah McNeilly (University of Edinburgh), Isabella’s Lion: Kinship and Circular Care in a Brazilian Candomblé House.

Letizia Bonanno (University of Manchester), Modes and Socialities of Care beyond Kinship and the State: The Work of Pharmaceuticals in Austerity-Ridden Athens.

Shubha Ranganathan (Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad), From ‘Care’ to ‘Mental Health Care’: Critical Questions from Local Healing Shrines in India.

Discussant: Jacob Copeman (University of Edinburgh)

Chair: Lotte Buch-Segal (University of Edinburgh)

12.40 -1.40      Lunch

1.40-3.00         Session 3

Kaveri Qureshi (University of Edinburgh), On sabar (again) and Time: Care and Self-care among Middle-aged Pakistani Women.

Giulia Sciolli (University of Cambridge), Re-feeding Kinship Ties: Ethics of Care and Kinship in an Italian Eating Disorders Treatment Centre.

Emilija Zabiliūtė (University of Edinburgh), The Work of Repair: Conjugality and Diabetes among Middle-Class Women in Delhi.

Discussant: Janet Carsten (University of Edinburgh)

Chair: Jacob Copeman (University of Edinburgh)

3.00-3.20         Coffee

3.20-4.20         Session 4

Vaibhav Saria (Simon Frazer University), The Family Doctor: Kinship, Care, and Diagnosis.

Lilian Kennedy (University of Edinburgh), Obscuring Precarious Dementia Futures.

Discussant: Lotte Buch-Segal (University of Edinburgh)

Chair: Kaveri Qureshi (University of Edinburgh)

4.20-5.00         Final Discussion

Contact: Emilija Zabiliūtė