Friday 31.5. / 5 pm / Kulturno informativni centar (KIC) / LECTURE & BOOK DISCUSSION

Lynne Segal (Care Collective): A Politics of Radical Care & The Care Manifesto / Manifest skrbi – politika međuovisnosti (AGM, 2023.)

Life at present is plagued by drama and emergencies. We see rampant inequality and carelessness entrenched, ensuring that essential resources are ever harder to access for many, while environmental disasters now threaten us all, even as warfare and destitution around the globe means more people on the move seeking asylum. One response is evident in the rise of the Right, with its populist nationalism and policies of exclusion.

A second involves more inclusive practices of resistance and hope, which nowadays often address the need not just to prioritize care, but to explore its complexities and significance, noting its constant devaluation. In this presentation I draw upon my latest book, Lean on Me, which argues that the only way to combat the pessimism feeding reactionary movements is by insisting upon our globally entwined interdependence and shared vulnerability.

We know that the Covid pandemic spotlighted exactly this global interdependence, along with our lifelong needs for differing forms of care and support. At its height, the pandemic did stimulate heroic efforts from care workers globally, as well as generating a host of grassroots practices of mutual aid for those in need of care and companionship, some still ongoing.

However, the recognition of our mutual dependency is always threatened by people’s deep fear and disavowal of dependency, encouraged by the illusory rhetoric of personal autonomy along with market promises of individual fulfilment, irrespective of others. Yet none of us can survive without the care and kindness of others, underpinned by diverse social infrastructures that either enable or curtail the flourishing of all living creatures, and the world itself.

Embracing the interconnected vulnerability of human existence can help us cement our ties to others, near and far, deepening our commitment to a compassionate, inclusive sociality, which places expanded notions of care at the very heart of our politics and democratic survival.

moderated by: Mika Buljević

Lynne Segal is Anniversary Professor Emerita, Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London.