October 15, 2015 - 12:30pmOctober 15, 2015 - 2:00pmUNM SUB, Rm. Lobo A&B
The hyper marginalized urban poor reside in particular socio-spatial contexts where daily life is characterized by intense bodily suffering, multiple forms of potential and actualized violence, and an acute struggle for survival.
Multiple "infrastructures of care" arise to address the (extra) ordinary crises related to extreme poverty, social marginality, addiction, trauma, and chronic illness in these urban spaces. These care infrastructures are located in various arms of the state -— medical, social welfare, and increasingly, penal and criminal justice systems.
Using ethnographic data from long-term field work among unstably housed urban poor women in San Francisco, I examine how the infrastructures tasked with intervening to administer care to the most marginalized operate in the blurred boundaries between compassion and brutality.
In order to navigate these infrastructures that are essential to daily survival, women must negotiate a moral economy of care, where they are mandated to suffer exceptionally in order to eventually obtain access to life-saving resources.
This presentation will consider how care for the most socially vulnerable may be reconfigured in order to address this paradox and the broader implications for research on health inequities.