Disabled people have never demanded or asked for care! (Wood, as cited in Thomas, 2007, p. 107).
…any radical pedagogy must insist that everyone’s presence is acknowledged. (hooks, Teaching to Transgress, 1994, p. 8)
Cripping Care: Care Pedagogies and Practices invites scholarly, multimedia and artistic explorations of care as a critical pedagogical terrain. To ‘crip’ care means to recognize the agency and value of disabled persons at the center of care relationships, as well as scholarly and artistic inquiry about care. Cripping care asserts a new direction in disability studies that opens fresh perspectives, critiques and practices to resist normalizing, often violent care regimes and practices. In this turn, care is a radical and relational site of new learning about power and possibility surrounding the meaning of relationships between disability, self, other and world. It traverses an interdisciplinary terrain including disability, feminist, sociological, cultural, political, health and philosophical approaches, among others (Chapman & Kelly, 2015; Hughes, McKie, Hopkins, & Watson, 2005; Kelly, 2013, 2016; Kröger, 2009; Williams, 2011).
Disability perspectives have long challenged common and scholarly approaches to care, insisting on the ways that care can be patronizing, deny humanity and oppress those who require support. Claiming to ‘care for’ people with disabilities has justified segregation, institutionalization, abuse, sterilization, painful and ineffective treatments, and many other harms to disabled bodies. These harms are often uncomfortably motivated by sincere caring intentions and concern. Independent Living approaches to care from disability perspectives question the conflation of disability with dependency and the need for care, and emphasize the right to autonomous personhood, favoring terms like ‘help’ or ‘assistance’ rather than ‘care’. At the same time, disability perspectives illuminate the essential necessity of thoughtful and meaningful support in everyday life (Hughes, McKie, Hopkins, & Watson, 2005; Kelly, 2013, 2016; Kröger, 2009; Shakespeare, 2006).
Broadly speaking, feminist approaches to care include political economy and feminist ethics of care approaches (see, for example, Armstrong & Braedley, 2013; Gilligan, 1982; Kittay, 1999; Noddings, 1984; Tronto, 1993). Feminist political economy has long questioned both the intimate and structural ways care, as a form of feminized, racialized, transnational labor, can operate as an exploitative social relation. Within this approach, disability is often calculated as an additional care burden borne by marginalized women. Feminist care ethics takes a different perspective and explores care as a cherished relation of intimacy, key value and moral orientation shaping thought, practice and politics that contrasts dominant ethics based on justice and rules. In this scholarship, the equation of disability and dependence is often assumed, and oppressive aspects of care marginalized.
Cripping care asserts a new turn in disability studies at the intersection of disability, feminist and other critical scholarship on care that generatively gleans the strengths and engages the tensions between these approaches (Kafer, 2013; Kelly, 2016; McRuer, 2005; Robinson, 2006; Sandahl, 2003; Simplican, 2015; Williams, 2011). This turn centers care as a relational paradox entangled with both transgressive possibility and coercive constraint, intimate interdependence and constraining power, that often seeks to normalize or cure (Douglas, 2010; Kelly 2013). Cripping care interrogates both the transgressive possibilities of care relationships, and the troubling implication of parents, educators, health care providers, religious leaders and others in paternalistic and often violent histories of ableist, racist and other oppressive practices - such as forced sterilization or residential schools - under the guise of care structured by colonial logics, patriarchy and neoliberal capitalism. Critically engaging the paradox of care, cripping care foregrounds the agency, experience and value of disabled persons, and has implications for remaking social policy, support and services in ways that do not foreclose disabled persons’ access to life or eschew all those in caring relationships.
More specifically, we assert a distinctly feminist crip approach to care that forefronts the study of teaching and learning about relationality at the intersection of disability studies, feminist and other critical approaches to care. This means studying those in care relationships as relationally constitutive learners/teachers who generate knowledge through approaching the care exchange as a learning encounter; the study of how those in care relationships come to care for and about learning and each other through the process of discovering the self, the other and the world through their exchange; and the ways that bringing relationality in breathes life into care as a mutable, symbiotic living bond, as reciprocal, though not necessarily symmetrical, vulnerability. For in its concreteness, pedagogy means openness to the uniqueness and difference of an other to whom we are intimately tied (Van Manen, 1990, pp. 142-56). This involves care – giving, receiving, and giving back; knowing, unknowing and discovering; teaching and learning.
Approaching care as a kind of pedagogy crips care by orienting to disability as a critical teacher about intimacy, identity, power and difference within relationships. It also orients care as a cripped exchange that opens possibilities of being together beyond the sway of neoliberal, ableist capitalist modes of power and expected subjectivities. This points toward a relationality that is non-objectifying, unscripted and immeasurable but also finely attuned to power in its myriad aspects, including its aesthetic, sensual, fluid, non-material, affective, non-linear and spontaneous dimensions. As a form of reciprocity, care that centers teaching and learning satiates those in care relationships and blurs binaries such as caregiver/receiver. It embraces the non-reductive and fundamental worth and uniqueness of all within relationships.
An interdisciplinary, critical feminist crip approach to care challenges the field of disability studies to rethink non-affective conceptions of care and values such as autonomy. It also invites feminist, health care, education and other critical scholarship to move beyond non-reciprocal understandings of care to incorporate lessons from disability studies that value different embodiments.
The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS) seeks proposals for the special forum Cripping care: Care pedagogies and practices. The deadline for submission of abstracts is November 1, 2016. Full manuscripts should be submitted to the Special Guest Editors, Dr. Patty Douglas, Dr. Carla Rice, and Dr. Christine Kelly. Please indicate that your proposal is for consideration of the special forum upon submission. Papers considered for inclusion should be approximately 6000 words, and may take the form of critical, academic, multimedia and creative works about disability and care as well as reflections on care’s varied pedagogical aspects and international scope.
Topics and questions related to disability and care pedagogies may include:
- Cripping care: Disability studies approaches to care
- Ethics of care
- Disability care ethics
- Caring in health/social care encounters
- Care in long-term and home care systems, policies and programs
- Disabled teachers and disability as teacher
- Pedagogies of care
- Phenomenologies of care
- Caring under austerity and neoliberalism
- Disabled health care providers and disabled caregivers
- Regulating care: Vulnerability, autonomy and notions of the human in legal and policy regimes governing care
- The entanglement of care and violence (including medical trauma, violence in/of cure, institutional violence, colonial violence, structural violence, as well as physical, sexual and other normative forms of violence)
- Caring and cared for bodies: inter- and intracorporealities
- Speaking back to regimes of biomedical care and biopedagogies of care
- Post-humanism and pedagogies of care
- Interspecies intimacies
- Relationalities: Intersubjective, familial and kinship care
- Innovative approaches to care
- Care beyond carceral spaces (i.e., institutional warehousing, long-term care, group homes, asylums)
- Caring as a pedagogy of possibility, for example, improvisation, creativity
- Care phenomenologies and pedagogies of time
- Intersectionality in care encounters and contexts
- Indigenous epistemologies, ontologies and care pedagogies and practices
- Affect, disability and care pedagogies
- Research ethics and pedagogies of care
- Disability justice and the political economy of care
Submissions to this special issue will undergo a process of peer-review. Authors will be notified of whether their papers will be invited for consideration in the forum by December 1, 2016. Final manuscripts are due March 1, 2017. Prospective authors are encouraged to consult the RDS website at www.rds.hawaii.edu for more information about the journal and its formatting guidelines. Authors are encouraged to review previous issues of RDS in preparing their paper and to subscribe to the journal. Please note that acceptance of an abstract or initial acceptance of an article does not guarantee publication in RDS. RDS is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, international journal published by the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. The journal contains research articles, essays, creative works and multimedia relating to the culture of disability and people with disabilities.
We look forward to receiving your submissions. If you have any questions or want to submit, please contact
Patty Douglas, PhD
Faculty of Education, Brandon University
Carla Rice, PhD
REDLAB (Revisioning Differences Mobile Media Arts Laboratory)
University of Guelph
Christine Kelly, PhD
Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba