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Accepted Paper:

Transgressing biopolitical difference through care; migrant and citizen mutual care relating in Greece  
Ioanna Manoussaki-Adamopoulou (UCL)

Paper short abstract:

In a context were people are separated by varying legal rights and systems of care designed to separate, such as border-crossers and citizens, thinking-with and caring-with become acts of transgression of biopolitical difference, enacting equality in action by creating communities of mutual care.

Paper long abstract:

Care provision for people crossing into Greece to seek asylum in 2015, was initially a manifestation of spontaneous acts of care; a fisherman jumping in the water to pull someone to shore from a capsized dingy, or a group of older women providing ‘care as usual’ by holding a migrant baby whilst their mother was putting clothes out to dry in the public space. The subsequent humanitarianization-securitisation of the border space transformed spontaneous care responses into acts of systemic transgression, as saving people from drowning or giving someone a lift from the shore to the nearest town became liable of smuggling. Beyond defining an ‘object of care’ for the humanitarian apparatus, cutting contact between society and border-crossers was necessary to transform non-citizens into a biopolitical ‘other’, as acts of social caring kept re-humanizing them in action. Continuing to offer support to people no longer on the move as an EU citizen subsequently became a political act, enacting a moral and political imaginary of equality in difference. At the same time, caring as an emotional disposition within the prescribed distance of the humanitarian relation, equally managed to transgress the provider-recipient dynamic, transforming it into relations of mutual care. Drawing from a number of ethnographic examples from the humanitarian and the self-organised solidarity milieu, the proposed paper discusses how different acts of caring derived from thinking-with (Puig de la Bellacasa 2012) non-citizens manage to dissolve biopolitical difference by creating networks based on shared relational care that transgress cultural, positional and physical borders.

Panel Heal01a
Care as act of transgression I
  Session 1