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Is blood thicker than water? Single Indian Singaporean women and the geographies of ‘being’ family

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Globalisation and increasing mobility in an age of migration have had a critical impact on the conceptualisation and practice of care – from the intimate spaces of the family to more expansive scales such as the national and global. This construction of care is further compounded by the state's co-optation of a script of love in which practices of care become representations of familial love. Care is often immersed in a discourse of sacrifice, something to be given/taken. Such a binary representation produces a repressive and calculative discourse of care in which it is women who are seen primarily as being in the red not just financially, but also emotionally. This article calls for an approach to care which not only centres on the needs of the other, but also considers one's obligation to the self in relation to others, and a realisation that caring for the self and the other is deeply intertwined. It engages with care in terms of a feminist ethics but locates this ethic within the context of Singaporean-Indian women based in Singapore and abroad. Such a transnational framing foregrounds the relationality of proximity and distance, and rethinks care and responsibility not just to those biologically proximate, but to others we are not related to by blood, but with whom we share day-to-day intimacies that connect across multiple spatio-temporalities, and eventually include as part of our families.
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Keywords: amistad; care; cuidado; familia; family; feminist ethics; friendship; proximidad; proximity; responsabilidad; responsibility; ├ętica feminista

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, 1 Arts Link, Block AS2, #03-01, Kent Ridge,117570, Singapore

Publication date: February 7, 2015

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