Care in Asia: beyond and across a clinic – University of Copenhagen

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Care in Asia: beyond and across a clinic

Workshop

Date and Time: September 28, 10.00-16.30, September 29, 10.00-14.30.
Venue: NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen.
Organizer: Emilija Zabiliute
Funding: ADI – Asian Dynamics Initiative, University of Copenhagen

While care is widely discussed across feminist studies and anthropology, it remains undertheorized and subject to western-centric conceptualizations, as some recent studies point out (Aulino 2016). Frequently, explorations of care practices are limited to specific sites of inquiry – medical institutions or domestic space. For instance, scholars explore how care occurs at the clinics, and how it intertwines with knowledge production, governance of bodies and subject formation. However, in Asia (but to a large extent elsewhere as well), care is dispersed across a complex terrain of healthcare ecologies. Firstly, anthropologists have since long also been interested in care generated by relations, such as kin. Secondly, numerous studies show that healing (and thus care) takes place in and across diverse biomedical and ‘traditional’ medical institutions. Still, in attempts to conceptualize it, care is often designated as ‘self-care’; and familial or ‘traditional’ forms of care often remain to be viewed as hindrances for hegemonic biomedical care.

This workshop hosts scholars working on care in the Asian region and invites participants to think about how care amidst illnesses or disorders is diversified and extended beyond and across a multiplicity of health institutions in Asia. For instance, how family care intersects with institutional care, and how care becomes enmeshed in larger relational projects among persons. Or, how care is shaped by a number of institutions, that may be underlined by different forms of medical/interventionist knowledge and health epistemologies, such as ‘unlicensed’ or ‘traditional’ practitioners. Rather than thinking of these sites of care as incommensurable and generating conflicting and burdensome situations, the workshop invites participants to address how diversified care underlines overall patient/carer experience, and what forms of knowledge it produces. At the same time, the workshop will open up possibilities for reconceptualising care through an inquiry into coexistent diversity of its sites and actors. Responding to this call, participants submitted abstracts on a wide variety of themes, including mental health care, reproductive health care, multisited care, familial care and politics of care, focusing on a number of Asian countries.