Paper at 4S 2017

I’m thrilled to have our paper sub­mis­sion accept­ed to the . Cyn­thia Ben­nett and I will be busi­ly prepar­ing our paper for the always amaz­ing event, this year in August/September in Boston.

A care for being
more (cap-)able

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.

4S is the Soci­ety for the Social Stud­ies of Sci­ence. The annu­al meet­ing details are here.