A Crisis of Care and a Crisis of Borders: Towards Caring Citizenship

We live amidst a crisis of care in the U.S. Demand for care is rapidly increasing (as baby boomers age, as medical technology extends lives and as older children remain unemployed in economic recession), while public support for care is falling dramatically. Care needs are increasingly met in the market place where care is simultaneously commodified and devalued. This crisis of care is often borne by low-income care providers, many of whom are ‘racial-ethnic’ women who may be immigrants and who are often assumed to be undocumented. Here the crisis of care meets a border crisis.

An internationally respected feminist geographer, Victoria Lawson considers the ethics and practices of care in the global era. Since 1996, immigrants’ rights have been curtailed and border enforcement has been intensified and rescaled. Efforts to control the movement and work of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers have unleashed new spatial strategies of border enforcement that have shifted where the border is, and for whom the border comes into being. In some states, borders are being enforced in communities, workplaces, hospitals and schools. These border practices intensify the vulnerability of low-wage care providers regardless of their citizenship status, and contribute to the devaluation of care. Care ethics invites a collective conversation about how we frame social citizenship, how we care and who cares for whom.

Lawson is co-founder of the Relational Poverty Network and Middle Class Poverty Politics project. A past-president of the Association of American Geographers, she is also the author of Making Development Geography (2007) and serves as editor for the journal Progress in Human Geography.

Free and open to the public.

 
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©2012 Simpson Center for the Humanities

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