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Accepted Paper:

Experiences of disability and institutional care in rural South Africa  
Camilla Hansen (Oslo Metropolitan University)

Paper long abstract:

The paper will investigate experience of disability in conjunction with the private and public moral boundaries of care in rural South Africa. With ethnography from Eastern Cape (Transkei) two central local concepts will be investigated.

1. The first concept, "community child", can be analysed as an alternative local approach where practices of care are embedded in perceptions of relatedness, personhood, reciprocity and responsibility.

2. The second concept, "discrimination", is embedded in a political and social practice which resist values which maintains care as private.

The paper make use of Foucault's concept "biopower" to illustrate the overlapping emergence of bio-bureaucratic institutions, e.g. welfare homes, rehabilitation homes (modernist form of homes) and its discourse which manifest a unprecedented regime of authority and care as private. The concept "biopower" will be discussed in conjunction with the content of mainstreaming an understanding of disability into the broader South African society. The paper will discuss how this transformation is also about making care into concern for the public. The paper draw on the philosopher Joan Tronto's political argument of addressing otherness and paternalism - an argument which draws attention to the importance of moving care from being a matter between care-givers and care-receivers only, but rather a matter for the community. The ethnographic material discusses how local disabled people organizations in Eastern Cape are actively involved in these processes of transformation. Among them changing institutions to become more public and further communicating closely with local communities which has less access to the knowlegde these institutions contains.

Panel W101
Politics of disability and experience
  Session 1