Rethinking responsibility and care for a postcolonial world

Raghuram, Parvati; Madge, Clare and Noxolo, Pat (2009). Rethinking responsibility and care for a postcolonial world. Geoforum, 40(1) pp. 5–13.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2008.07.007

Abstract

Both responsibility and care have much to offer in thinking through the relationalities that make up a postcolonial world. Although contemporary political systems often posit responsibility and care within the context of individuated and autonomous selves, geographers have done much to relocate responsibility and care within narratives of interdependency – spatially and temporally. They have argued that both terms offer a route for thinking about ethical geographical relations between myriad places. In this article we take this project further, by looking at how the nature and shape of these relationships might be construed in a postcolonial world. We suggest that, through a more critical engagement with postcolonial thinking, any exploration of existing practices of responsibility and care will not only reveal the enormous potential of imagining these geographies as forms of existing and evolving relationalities, but will also lead us to interrogate the deployments of these terms in the context of past and present inequalities. We show that routing care and responsibility through postcolonial geographies moves us towards a more pragmatic responsiveness, one that involves a ‘care-full’ recognition of postcolonial interaction.

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