Global Perspectives on Care and COVID

A new collection of essays looks back on a global crisis that became a care catastrophe.

The emergence of COVID in 2019 turned a longstanding crisis of care into a global catastrophe. A decades long discussion about the inadequacy of care infrastructure for the provision of both paid and unpaid services  was suddenly thrust into the spotlight of public dialogue and policy discourse. COVID-19, like the dye that doctors use to see pathways in CAT scans and MRIs, was sudden lit up in fluorescent color.

As care scholars and members of the Global Carework Network, we knew that other scholars were already investigating the challenges presented by the pandemic and policy responses across the globe.  We reached out to these incredible researchers and asked them to bring their expertise to bear on this crisis.  Given the stresses we experienced managing our own pandemic care burdens, we wondered whether we would struggle to find participants, but as it turned out, that was not a problem. Like us, many others were anxious to research and reflect on the crisis unfolding around them.

We enlisted authors from many disciplines and almost every continent to write 20 original chapters on Care and COVID-19. We were awed by the energy and knowledge they brought to this project.  Our contributors participated in three Zoom meetings together (in true COVID-era form), after reading drafts of the other chapters, sharing feedback, and asking new questions.

In the resulting volume, From Crisis to Catastrophe, this diverse group of care scholars helps us understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on care – our practice of care, our understanding of care, and our future vision for care. In doing so, they consider the ways in which the existing social organization of care in different countries around the globe amplified or mitigated the consequences of COVID-19.  They also explore the impact of the global pandemic on further deteriorating the conditions of care amidst deeply rooted gender, race, migration, disability, and other inequalities.  In addition, they analyze the insights gained from this crisis that deepen our overall understanding of care and imagine the opportunities for lasting change as we move forward.

Since the book’s publication, we’ve been honored to continue these conversations with the authors in academic programs and in a webinar for policy advocates sponsored by the Century Foundation. We may be moving past the toughest moments of the pandemic, but challenges related to care persist, and these ongoing dialogues give us an opportunity to consider them.

From Crisis to Catastrophe is the first book published in the Carework in a Changing World Series from Rutgers University Press. We welcome proposals from authors working on manuscripts that contribute to a global conversation about care and carework.

Image credit: Baz Ratner
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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