In much of the contemporary world, obligations for care and welfare provision are being challenged by global processes such as international migration and neoliberal economic restructuring. This panel seeks to explore how these developments can be approached from an anthropological perspective.
Global demographic trends, the growth of international migration, and the spread of marketisation have reconfigured welfare arrangements and practices of care in many different parts of the world. Obligations for mutual care and support within kinship networks, across generations and in relations between states and citizens have been challenged. For example increasing numbers of frail elderly have led to the introduction of payment-for-care schemes in various countries whilst new forms of care migration challenge practices of mutual support within transnational families. This panel seeks to address how we might use anthropological knowledge to understand these reconfigurations and the interrelations between inter-personal or intimate care practices and such global transformations. This question has not yet fully been explored by anthropologists, although some recent work has focused on anthropological concepts of the gift in studies of care practices (Russ 2005, Read 2007) feminist analyses of care and inequality (Kingfisher 2002) and theories of care and social security (Read and Thelen 2007).
This panel seeks to build on and develop these bodies of work through inviting papers which explore how ideas and practices of care, welfare and mutuality are constituted in response to new global developments and pressures. We welcome papers which approach these connections through focusing on caring arrangements within personal, kin-based relations, or those in more institutionalised settings. We are also interested in papers on welfare reform and shifting international discourses on mutual dependence, obligation, difference and inequality.