Time-spaces practices of care after a family death

We’re pleased to publish our latest paper, Time-space practices of care after a family death in urban Senegal, in Social & Cultural Geography, by Sophie Bowlby, Ruth Evans, Jane Ribbens McCarthy and Joséphine Wouango.  Here is the summary (résumé français ci-dessous)

The paper contributes to studies of care practices and care ethics beyond the Minority world by analysing informal caringscapes after a family death in urban Senegal. Based on the findings of a qualitative study in the cities of Dakar and Kaolack, we explore exchanges of care by the living for the living in the period immediately following the death, and changes in these care practices over the longer term. We focus on mobilities and changing care roles in family lives over time. We demonstrate the central significance of family commitments and concern for the wellbeing of the ‘family’ in caring exchanges. We suggest that a deeply relational understanding of personhood as bound up with family and community underlies many current caring practices in urban Senegal and challenges current conceptualisations of care interdependencies.

Pratiques spatiotemporelles de care après un deuil familial dans le Sénégal urbain

Cette communication contribue à la recherche sur les pratiques du care et de ses éthiques au-delà du monde minoritaire par une analyse des espaces informels du care après un deuil familial dans le Sénégal urbain. Reposant sur les résultats d’une étude quantitative dans les villes de Dakar et de Kaolack, nous explorons les échanges de care des vivants aux vivants pendant la période immédiatement après le décès, et les changements à plus long terme dans ces pratiques de care. Nous nous concentrons sur les mobilités et les rôles évolutifs du care dans les vies familiales au fil du temps. Nous démontrons la signification centrale des responsabilités et des préoccupations familiales pour le bien-être de la « famille » dans les échanges familiaux. Nous suggérons qu’une profonde interprétation des relations de l’identité individuelle comme étant liée à la famille et à la communauté sous-tend beaucoup de pratiques contemporaines du care dans le Sénégal urbain et remet en question les conceptualisations actuelles des interdépendances du care.

Unpacking ‘family troubles’, care and relationality across time and space

We are pleased to share our thoughts on unpacking ‘family troubles’, care and relationality across time and space in our editorial (2019) to accompany the exciting special section of Children’s Geographies that resulted from our Family Troubles Symposium, held at the University of Reading.  Through this piece and the special section, we unpack time-space dynamics of ‘family troubles’ in diverse contexts, with a particular focus on care and relationality. We seek to establish an agenda for future geographical work and interdisciplinary dialogue on ‘family troubles’, vulnerabilities and social suffering in contexts of (troubling) changes and diversity. Such analyses are crucial in our efforts to envision a more relational understanding of our ‘being-in-the-world’, underpinned by care ethics and support for differentially positioned family members throughout the lifecourse and across generations.

Read more here

Towards an Anthropology of Grief

Ruth Evans was pleased to speak at the recent workshop Towards an Anthropology of Grief organised by Aurélien Baroiller, Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium (8-9 March 2017). Ruth’s paper explored the paradox of absence-presence and the importance of time-space practices in understanding continuing care of the dead in urban Senegal. It was an excellent opportunity to discuss the research findings with anthropologists of grief working in diverse contexts globally.