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Decolonizing White Care: Relational Reckoning with the Violence of Coloniality in Welfare


This paper contributes to debates on potential connections between care ethics and decoloniality from within Global North West European whiteness. It adopts a feminist psychosocial position which understands everyday lived realities as shifting dynamic entanglements, produced relationally though complicated spatially and temporally expansive material, discursive and affective practices. First, it situates the liberal welfare state as part of a global project of North Western European colonisation which violently establishes a fantasy of whiteness as the human ideal rooted in individual sovereignty and rights to possession (Moreton-Robinson, 2015). Next it unpacks how the historical institutionalisation of care via state welfare sustains ‘white ignorance’; (Mills, 2007) in the face of the contemporary reality of ongoing systematised racial violence of coloniality. Finally, it offers the idea of ‘relational choreography’ (Hunter, 2015a; 2015b) as a way into resisting binary liberal individualist self-understanding underpinning this possessive logic of whiteness.

This paper appears in a special edition of the journal Ethics and Social Welfare Volume 15 Issue 4 on 'Ethical Relations to the Past: Individual, Institutional, International' Edited by Gideon Calder, Petula Brannelley and Ian Calliou

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