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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: Events


Kinship, Chronic Illness and Responsibility of Care

Event Name Kinship, Chronic Illness and Responsibility of Care
Start Date 5th Dec 2019 9:00am
End Date 5th Dec 2019 5:00pm
Duration 8 hours

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 and Ian Harper 

Please see the call for abstracts.

Contact: Emilija Zabiliūtė