By Kathleen Lynch, John Baker, Maureen Lyons
This groundbreaking book offers a brand new viewpoint on equality through highlighting and exploring affective equality, the point of equality thinking about relationships of affection, care and unity. Drawing on reviews of intimate worrying, or "love laboring," it finds the intensity, complexity and multidimensionality of affective inequality.
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Additional info for Affective Equality: Love, Care and Injustice
Kittay, 1999: 107, emphasis in the original) An egalitarian ideal of support for carers should therefore attend to the whole range of their needs. A third major theme is that the relationship between caregiver and care recipient can be more or less egalitarian. e. where one person provides care and the other receives it. It is easy to imagine that this asymmetrical relationship could not possibly be egalitarian in character, but interestingly enough the character of its presumed inequality has been perceived in very different ways.
To deprive or deny someone the experience of care and love, or to be indifferent towards or inhibiting of their acts of solidarity, is to deprive them of one of the great goods of human existence. A further reason why relations of care, love and solidarity matter is because the development of love, care and solidary relations involves effort, time and energy. Maintaining love and care relations involves work that is often pleasurable but also burdensome. Hochschild’s (2001) work shows that the demands of caring for young highly dependant children are seen as work, so much so that people do try to escape them, in particular by spending longer hours in paid employment than they have to.
On the one hand, it looks as though care recipients are in a privileged position, since they are the beneficiaries of the work of caregivers without having to give back anything in return. As Bubeck (1995) notes, the ‘ethic of care’ places potentially limitless demands on caregivers. By contrast, one can see caregivers as the privileged parties to the relationship, because of their power over vulnerable care recipients. Although Kittay recognises that care recipients also exercise a kind of power over the carer, based on the moral claim that their needs must be met, she nevertheless views the relationship as one of unequal power, since the care recipient may have very little capacity for agency (Kittay, 1999: 33–35).