Thelen, Tatjana, and Coe, Cati. Political belonging through elder care: Temporalities, representations and mutuality.
Anthropological Theory 19 (2): 279-299.
In this article, we examine the ways that elderly care generates political belonging. Our approach builds on studies which argue that nurture and care create kinship, but takes that argument further by suggesting that care generates membership in numerous social formations, across scales. We suggest that elderly care helps illuminate key aspects of political belonging, particularly the temporality of political membership, because elderly care entails mutuality and reciprocity over a long period of time. In addition, elderly care is an interactive process in which older persons, their caregivers, the state and other actors negotiate modes of political belonging that entail affect as well as rights. Furthermore, elderly care has been used to construct representations of ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ families which are ideologically connected to particular political formations. These representations generate difference and ‘Othering’ of internal and external populations. Ultimately, we argue that a focus on elderly care collapses domains that are usually kept artificially separated, like kinship and the state, and private and public, in ways that are productive for social analysis as a whole.
First published 2017:
Chinese translation 2020: 养老带来政治归属：时间维度、表征形式以及相互性. Journal of Qinghai Nationalities University, Social Sciences 46, no. 4 (2020): 9-21.