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Recentring care: interrogating the commodification of care

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We trace how the category of care comes to be constituted historically and in social theory in ways that privilege the autonomous individual as economic agent and, in the process, renders care a problematic residual to social order and social theory. We investigate how theoretical categories, social relations, institutional orders and discursive practices separate care and economy in ways that constitute those in need (including the impoverished) as less valuable, subordinate and a drain on society. We then highlight a global trend towards the commodification of care within market logics of choice, even as the particular expression of these processes is worked out in and through the histories and cultures of places. We further argue that this repositioning of care within market relations of exchange obscures the fundamental interrelatedness of all humans and obscures the possibility of thinking more inclusive and less hierarchical forms of sociality.
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Keywords: banalisation; care; choice; choix; commodification; cuidado; dependencia; dependency; dépendance; elección; mercantilización; obligación; obligation; soin

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social Anthropology,University of Manchester, Oxford RoadManchester,M13 9PL, UK 2: Department of Geography,University of Washington, Seattle,WA,9819, USA

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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