Not offered in the academic year 2016-17.
This paper aims to use a variety of disciplinary perspectives to explore powerful new developments in the experience and understandings of gender and kinship in the context of the emergent field of “care.” The course addresses recent developments in gender theory and global changes in the nature of intimacy. It examines anthropological evidence of the re-emergence of more traditional kinship and gender relations in new forms. Cross-cultural studies of same-sex and heterosexual relationships and especially friendships will be examined so as to better theorise the ways in which care is being reconfigured both within and outside normative kinship configurations. The new theorisation of care builds upon the new ways of caring for the sick, frail and elderly as well as the young and examines policy concerns about the failures of parents in the care of children. It also examines care as a form of governance and identifies the ways in which the multiple and culturally specific ways of “caring” are often not recognised by the state which increasingly seeks to standardise practices of care and divest them of their socio-cultural meanings and significances.
Themes to be addressed include: new reproductive technologies, gender and work/family balance, migration and the international division of reproductive labour (employed care givers and global “care-chains”), new models and practices of parenting, domestic and state coercions, public planning and state policy in the realm of care.