The politics of care: same-sex parenthood, emotional dynamics and social change.
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractCare is a fundamental component of people’s life, with significant implications in terms of status and power dimensions, social justice, equality and social change. Nevertheless, care related policies tend to be defined in neutral terms, reinforcing inequalities based on gender, class, race/ethnicity, age, able-bodiness and sexual orientation. Moreover, the literature on care tends to be focused on its costs and responsibilities, while less attention is paid to the right to care and its consequences in terms of status inclusion or exclusion. The study here presented aimed at rethinking the phenomenon of care in a broader perspective, by offering a qualitative analysis that also includes non-conventional caregivers. It builds on the findings of an empirical research on informal care conducted in the USA between 2005 and 2007. The theoretical framework draws on those aspects of the Sociology of Emotions that, in explaining how feelings motivate conformity and social stratification, connect micro- and macro-levels, making care, emotion and sexual orientation central to understand how situated interactions reproduce social structure. The phenomenological analysis of the different meanings and implications of care discussed in this paper sheds light into important and yet less visible and still unexplored aspects of care concerning status and power dimensions. More specifically, it highlights the emotional dynamics thorough which informal care can produce unexpected outcomes in terms of status inclusion and self-empowerment. The implications of more inclusive approaches to Care are crucially important for current debates within social sciences. Situating the debate on same-sex parenthood within the context of care allows us to reframe the discourse on care and reduce the inequalities traditionally connected to this fundamental activity; but it also allows to overcome the misleading dualism between marginalisation and incorporation and to look for anti-assimilationist strategies of inclusion and social change.
CitationPratesi, A. (2013). The politics of care: same-sex parenthood, emotional dynamics and social change. Presented at the Birkbeck symposium on contemporary narratives of care. London, United Kingdom.
DescriptionPaper presented at the Symposium: "Contemporary Narratives of Care"; Birkbeck, University of London, 25th October 2013.
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