CFP – Moral Economies of Care: Dilemmas of Inclusion and Exclusion-- AAA Minneapolis, 16-20 November 2016

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Call for Papers
November 16, 2016 to November 20, 2016
Minnesota, United States
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Area Studies, European History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies, Middle East History / Studies

Call for Papers – Moral Economies of Care: Dilemmas of Inclusion and Exclusion

115th AAA Annual Meeting “Evidence, Accident, Discovery”

16-20 November 2016, Minneapolis

Organizers: Jess Newman (Yale) and Anne Montgomery (Columbia)

This February, The New York Times ran an article on drug shortages and rationing in U.S. hospitals. “We’ve got that tragic choice,” stated a Baltimore-based oncologist, “two kids in front of you, you only have enough [medicine] for one. How do you choose?” In this panel, we sateek to critically analyze contemporary economies of care dominated by an ethos of crisis and scarcity that necessitates differentiation between who will receive care, and who will not. As escalating debates about the status of migrants and refugees in Europe and in the American primaries demonstrate, the allocation of care and entitlements is a contentious political issue that involves the mobilization of historically rooted anxieties, narratives of fear and danger, and discourses of difference, while building upon (though often obscuring) entrenched structural and material inequalities (Holmes & Castañeda 2016). By focusing this panel on “moral economies of care,” we seek to highlight complex dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, focusing on the principles, moralities, and logics used to ration care and related forms of entitlement, as well as their consequences for particular bodies, subjectivities, and collectives.

We invite papers that approach care in terms of practices of allocation, including rationing, triage, and other forms of differentiation. Of central importance is the shifting role of heath and humanitarian organizations and their personnel as gatekeepers for particular rights and entitlements necessary for life and livelihood. Novel anthropological concepts– e.g. “biological citizenship” (Petryna 2002), “therapeutic citizenship” (Nguyen 2010) – have sought to describe new channels of distribution of resources and entitlements and to emphasize the partiality, contingency and discretionary aspects of such forms of care, as well as the paradoxical consequence that suffering, illness, and disability have become strangely desirable in certain contexts as means for gaining healthcare, material security, and political recognition (Fassin 2002; Ticktin 2011).   

In keeping with this year’s theme, we aim to interrogate the production of knowledge about recipients of care, asking, for example, what counts as evidence of ‘deservingness,’ ‘suffering,’ or ‘victimhood’? How is care shaped by these categories and evidentiary practices? How are dynamics of care influenced by processes of bureaucratization and the rise of ‘evidence-based’ practices? What modes of discipline and self-fashioning are enacted through the relationship between caregivers and recipients? How do moral economies of care build upon or (re)construct local moral worlds and forms of solidarity, including networks of obligation and reciprocity? How does care reproduce, transform, or challenge existing hierarchies and power inequalities, and how is care implicated in other forms of surveillance, security, and policing?

We invite papers analyzing moral economies of care in relation to humanitarianism, development, global public health, care work, human rights projects, and state-based citizenship and entitlements, or related arenas.

Please send abstracts of 250 words, along with paper title and keywords, to Anne Montgomery ( and Jess Newman ( by March 25th, for notification no later than April 1st

Contact Info: 

Jess Newman, M.Phil

Doctoral Candidate

Medical Anthropology

Yale University


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