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Journal Article



Amrith,  Megha       
Research Group Ageing in a Time of Mobility, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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McKearney, P., & Amrith, M. (2021). Care. Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology. CEA. doi:10.29164/21care.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-2EC5-6
There are many universal assumptions about what care is and how it ought to be provided. Such assumptions are widely embedded in public debates, government policies, and institutional forms of support. This entry presents three areas of anthropological work on how care is practised around the world in order to challenge these assumptions and demonstrate how care varies in unexpected ways. First, the entry explores how care is structured and, in particular, how it is organised by contemporary states and global markets. Second, the entry provides an overview of how, in everyday relationships of support, the political, economic, and moral dimensions of care become entangled in one another. This demonstrates how ethnography offers a different way to approach ethical and practical questions about what makes care good or effective in different cultural contexts and in different settings—such as in medical institutions or in the relationships between carers and those for whom they care. Finally, the entry shows how the different ways that care works in families and in communities challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about what care ought to look like and where it should take place. Overall, the entry illustrates that care varies greatly across social contexts. Anthropology distinctively illuminates how deeply these variations change the experience and consequences of care in ways that require our detailed attention.