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Accounting for care within human geography

Middleton, Jennie; Samanani, Farhan; (2020) Accounting for care within human geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers , 46 (1) pp. 29-43. 10.1111/tran.12403. Green open access

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Abstract

Human geography has experienced a burgeoning interest in care. Despite this, the more radical potentials of thinking with, and through, care remain largely unexplored. In this paper, we critically examine one such potential, asking how care might facilitate a substantial rethinking of practices of research and analysis within human geography. We argue that care does not simply name practices of social reproduction or emotional attachment, but is a distinct mode of ethics, both visible in the social world and capable of informing academic practice. We ask what it means to recognise everyday accounts as acts of care, and to analyse these same accounts through an ethic of care where knowledge, action, relating to others, and the shaping of ethical commitment are inextricably intertwined. While, typically, everyday accounts are seen as about some sort of underlying meaning or dynamic, we suggest that such accounts need to be understood as parts of efforts to navigate and re-make social worlds. We unfold our argument by first tracing how care has been understood and analysed within human geography as a shifting and situated social practice. Building on, but moving beyond, such approaches, we examine social worlds as “matters of care,” where everyday understandings and the potential for action and ethical commitment are not only continually negotiated but are also staunchly kept open to new possibilities. Through the close reading of extracts from in-depth interviews with first-time parents in the city of Oxford, UK, we illustrate how care offers a committed practice of knowing and relating within research. We argue this approach provides new ways of thinking about geographical research, where primary research, analysis, and scholarly narratives are all implicated in the remaking of everyday worlds that, in turn, reveal a new terrain of political potentiality.

Type: Article
Title: Accounting for care within human geography
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/tran.12403
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12403
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). © 2020 The Authors. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers)
Keywords: Social Sciences, Geography, care, ethic of care, everyday, human geography, Oxford, parents, SOCIAL GEOGRAPHY, CHILD-CARE, ETHICS, PLACE, RESPONSIBILITY, MOTHERHOOD, TALKING, SPACES, WORK
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10163718
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