Questioning care



Publication Details

Slater, L. (2016). Questioning care. In A. Hickey (Eds.), The Pedagogies of Cultural Studies (pp. 116-131). New York: Taylor and Francis. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/lib/uow/detail.action?docID=4470601


What worlds do you care for? Donna Haraway (2008) challenges her readers to become curious about the world-making effects of their caring practices. In this chapter I will examine the world-making effects of settler Australians' care for Indigenous peoples, and more broadly reflect upon pedagogies of care and the production of the contemporary caring subject. Haraway (1988) has long argued for situated knowledges. As much as we live in an interconnected, entangled world, peoples (or as Haraway might prefer, the more-than-human) also live different histories. To care is to make claims on life and the future (and in so doing draw upon particular pasts). In Australia, the art of caring for others or instituting good health and well-being continues to be modeled on settler liberal concepts of what is a good life and a healthy subject-citizen. In contrast, many Indigenous people have called upon settler Australia to recognize and take seriously alternative life worlds and thus to imagine different futures. To do so, we need to ask, what are the world-making effects of our caring stories? Cultural studies prides itself on a commitment to social justice, and I would argue that such an undertaking requires a radical innovation of how we understand and practice care. My intention is to not simply critique modes of caring for others but rather to run a bit of interference on care: to reflect upon what worlds are we caring for, so we might consider what worlds flourish and what worlds are diminished. To generate new political practices and anticolonial styles of care, we need to draw upon alternative genealogies of care.

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