The relevance of critical insights of postcolonial theory

Care theory started out as a critical epistemology that added a different, a female voice to morality. As a political ethics, care theory has moreover turned its attention to political practices and institutions that beget inequality and power asymmetries through political practices of gendering and racializing, and thereby devaluing and marginalizing, care work and carers.

As a critical voice in disability and gerontology studies, care theory has rejected the mythical norm of the autonomous subject and rendered the active participation of the cared for visible, thereby acknowledging and criticizing political power asymmetries between care givers and care receivers on the grounds of relationality.

It may therefore come as a surprise that postcolonial theorists well-versed in the language of care have repeatedly criticized the moral, political and epistemic underpinnings of care, especially its relational ontology. My lecture, presented at the reseach group Critical Ethics of Care in the Netherlands, will trace the most common postcolonial objections to care and weigh their validity, arguing that care theory will more fully realize its form and promise as a political ethics where it manages to include critical insights on the tensions within care from postcolonial theory.

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About the author: Jorma Heier

Jorma Heier

Jorma Heier studied Political Science, Sociology and Cultural Anthropology and obtained the Magistra Artium degree at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen. From September 2009 until August 2015, Heier was a research assistant at the Political Theory department of the University of Osnabrück, and conducts PhD. research on ›Political Repair‹ under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Matthias Bohlender, Universität Osnabrück and Prof. Dr. Joan C. Tronto, University of Minnesota there. In the winter term of 2009, Heier was a lecturer at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal, in the summer term 2014 a lecturer at the DHBW Stuttgart, and since Oktober 2015 Heier is a lecturer at the University of Osnabrück.

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