The Habit of Care: Technologies of Living and Laboring Cyborgs
Within the larger discourse around digital cultures, much attention is given to care. Care infrastructure includes physical infrastructure of access to remote spaces, regulatory and policy environments to control the digital spaces, redesigned geographies to house the new populations created by the ICT industries, and is discussed in disciplines as varied as Artificial Intelligence and Climate Change. Care Technologies find obvious resonances with the Foucaultian idea of ‘Technologies of the Self’, reminding us of the normative nature of measurement, cognition, discipline and punishment that is an inherent part of care.
The responses to Care Technologies and the Labor of Caring are not uniform. Some clearly identify the emergence of Care Technologies as a new form of alienation of labour, leading to discrimination and inequity. Others celebrate the ways in which the penetrative nature of the digital – from deep space probes to the sub-molecular conception of the human – allow us to imagine social interactions and our relationships with our own bodies in new ways.
In all the discourse around Care, there is silence about its form, function and nature. While attention is given to infrastructure, labour, politics, production and the intelligibility of care practices, we haven’t yet tried to fathom the conditions and generation of care, relegating it to the realm of the private and the subjective. Combining practice and theory, in different parts of the Global South, and inspired by gender and sexuality studies, this panel looks at Care as a Habit. We focus on the ‘care of technologies’, showing how the forced separation of care and technology needs to be revisited to look at conditions of being human, being social and being political. Working through diverse geographical and political contexts, the panel illustrates the tensions in understanding and engaging with Care and why there is a need to find new vocabularies and relationships to deal with this area.
The speakers in this panel specifically focus on the following themes:
Care, Affect and Nationalism (Nishant Shah)
Labor and Care (Yeonju Oh)
Care, Spirit and Memory (Kara Andrade)
Care and the Globalizing of “Subaltern” Labor through the politics of Micro and the production and circulation of affect (Radhika Gajjala)