Building Bridges with Accessible Care: Disability Studies, Feminist Care Scholarship, and Beyond

Hypatia 28 (4):784-800 (2013)
Abstract
This article uses elements of autoethnography to theorize an in/formal support relationship between a friend with a physical disability, who uses attendant services, and me. Through thinking about our particular “frien-tendant” relationship, I find the common scholarly orientations toward “care” are inadequate. Starting from the conversations between feminist and disability perspectives on care, I build on previous work to further develop the theoretical framework of accessible care. Accessible care takes a critical, engaged approach that moves beyond understanding “accessibility” as merely concrete solutions to create more inclusive forms of care. Care, in this context, is positioned as an unstable tension among competing definitions, including that it is a complex form of oppression. Accessible care draws on feminist disability perspectives and the feminist political ethic of care to build bridges in four areas: from daily experiences of disability and support to theoretical discussions; across feminist care research and disability perspectives; across divisions and anxieties within disability communities; and from the local to transnational applications. These bridges do not aim to resolve debates but allow us to travel back and forth between differing perspectives and demonstrate the tenuous possibility of accessible practices and concepts of care
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