Cynthia Bennett and Alex Taylor
In this paper, we begin with Ingunn Moser’s and Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s generative notions of care and use them to expand how we understand capability. Drawing on fieldwork with blind and vision impaired people, we turn our attention to a materially enacted, unfolding ‘sense-ability’. This is a sensing that puts (cap)ability and care together, that understands ‘seeing-in-the-world’ as a practical affair that is, at once, knowing, effecting and affecting with others (humans or otherwise). Thus, we show not only that care can contest an ‘instrumentalism’ in forms of knowing and doing—by ‘re-affecting objectified worlds’ (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2011: 98)—but also give a greater clarity to how care can be, in practice, entangled in practice. This sense-ability seeks to be active, enlivening how we become capable; it is figured to be worked with, not finite and dictated by assumed bodily limits, but open to becoming-with and becoming-more. Borrowing from Vinciane Despret, this sense-ability is “to gain a body that does more things, that feels other events, and that is more and more able…” (2004: 120).
Despret, V. (2004). The Body We Care For: Figures of Anthropo-zoo-genesis. Body & Society, 10(2–3), 111–134.
Moser, I. (2011). Dementia and the Limits to Life. ST&HV, 36(5), 704–722.
Puig de la Bellacasa, M. (2011). Matters of Care in Technoscience. Social Studies of Science, 41(1), 85–106.