Caring for Care

José Soeiro

Rita Serra

Teresa Cunha

September 28, 2021, 14h00 (GMT+1)

Online event


On the one hand, the Epistemologies of the South denounce the epistemological interventions that have led to the suppression of knowledges over the last few centuries as a result of the imposition of the dominant epistemological norm; on the other hand, they value the knowledges that have successfully resisted and the reflections they have produced and research the conditions for a horizontal dialogue between knowledges.

Caring is thinking-acting decentred from oneself; it is paying attention; it is solicitude; it is diligence; it is concern and apprehension for the wellbeing of others; it is vital affection for common goods; it is feeling with and wanting to feel with; it is a profound way of sharing responsibility for life in all its forms. Care means a powerful force to counter the social epistemological and ontological occupation of people, communities and territories by liberal and non-convivial rationalities and technologies. Care is the condition of the ceaseless production of life in all its forms. Caring does not concern domesticity as liberal currents have thematized and defended. It has ontological, political, ecological, social and epistemological dimensions that must be thought about and reflected upon.
We assert that colonialism, capitalism and heteropatriarchy create and maintain a system of privilege that equalises woman and nature by advocating a natural vocation of women to caregiving. This is the reactionary ethics of care that has served to justify and maintain women's subalternity, the accumulation of money, power and authority by a small elite, and contempt for the diversity of life. This way of understanding care inferiorizes, disqualifies, stigmatizes all the work involved in it - which is mostly performed by women - who come to be considered derivative, residual and unproductive. They not only expel care from politics and economics, but also reduce the knowledge and skills imagined, constructed and transmitted from the diverse experiences of caregivers to impertinence and irrelevance. The contempt to which the knowledge generated by care has been held, ridiculing it and relegating it to 'women's stuff' has allowed an epistemological hierarchy to be created that accompanies the political devaluation of care in its social, ecological and ontological dimensions.

In a period of pandemic by the new Coronavirus the most insurgent of reflections is to affirm that the economy has not stopped and neither has life. On the contrary, the economies that relentlessly produce life, the economies of care, are functioning at their maximum capacity to protect, nourish, shelter, heal, care, produce food, clean, support and love. Against the backdrop of yet another global economic downturn, we need to spread the word that economies of care are on the move, albeit often muted, overlooked and weakened. In spite of everything, they remain acutely present in our days of confinement, creating alternatives and giving us the signals we need to look for alternatives that can save us now and in the future.

In this seminar we want to think and talk about care from various perspectives, knowledges and experiences. We seek to understand commensurabilities and relations between policies, epistemologies and ontologies of care. We intend to highlight struggles and practices of and for the care of life in all its forms and to rediscover that south - a metaphor for suffering and the knowledge and alternatives generated in it - which remains silenced in the north that we inhabit.

This seminar adopts the methodology of a roundtable that will begin with the sharing of some reflections by José Soeiro (Sociologist; Member of the Portuguese Parliament), Rita Serra and Teresa Cunha and then be extended to the whole audience.


Activity under the seminar series "Constructing  the Epistemologies of the South".


This activity will be accessible through the Zoom platform and will be limited to number of available places: | ID: 828 2181 9919

We appreciate that all participants keep the microphone muted until the moment(s) of debate. The host of the session reserves the right to expel the participant who does not respect the rules of the room.

Online open access activities such as this one do not grant a declaration of participation since such document will only be provided in events that provide for prior registration and controlled access.