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Movements of care: an ethnography of care relations composed by Emberá Dobidá migrants, Colombia

Faure, Agathe Elise (2023) Movements of care: an ethnography of care relations composed by Emberá Dobidá migrants, Colombia. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004586


Drawing on twenty months of fieldwork conducted with Emberá Dobidá women and their extended households in Colombia, this thesis examines the connection between movement of people and the relations of care they compose. The Emberá Dobidá had in the past followed a mobile lifestyle, constantly moving between relatively permanent households and settlements, scattered across the rainforest of the Chocó. There, they gathered temporarily to ‘care’, cuidar in Spanish or acüi in Emberá Bedea, for one another. Small gestures of giving and receiving made what my interlocutors called ‘good energies’, which further influenced people into reciprocating their care and ultimately linked Emberá Dobidá people across time and space. Credited with specific bodily abilities, Emberá Dobidá women have historically played a key role in sustaining the circulation of care and the composition of these good energies. Yet recent historical events impacting Emberá Dobidá movement have affected their practices of care as well as women’s role in their maintenance. This has resulted in the rise of what my interlocutors called ‘bad energies’ and provoked a general sense of decline in how the Emberá Dobidá people manage social relations today. Focusing on Emberá Dobidá women who recently moved from the Indigenous territories of Chocó department to settle in the slums of Medellín, this thesis aims to account for how these women recompose relationships of care to face a moment of crisis but also to accommodate new aspirations. In doing so the thesis contributes to social scientific understandings of care circulation between transnational women migrants and their kin left at home, extending the literature on this theme by attending to relations of care made in non-kinship realms, as well as to nontransnational borders and the intricate logic of reciprocal circulation. Tracing the relation between movement and care eventually yields an approach to each concept as contextually embedded and culturally specific.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2023 Agathe Elise Faure
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Supervisor: Walker, Harry and Scott, Michael

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