Mike Laufenberg & Susanne Schultz: The Pandemic State of Care: Care Familialism and Care Nationalism in the COVID-19-Crisis. The Case of Germany. [Abstract]

In the COVID-19 pandemic the (nuclear) family, and the private household that is assumed to contain it, receives an enormous revaluation across different welfare regimes. At the same time the notion of a nationally formed welfare state that protects “its” vulnerable national population is re-enacted as a central care entity. From an intersectional and transnational perspective, the article coins the concepts of “care familialism” and “care nationalism” to analyse both the conditions of inequality and the exclusionary effects of these intertwined formations of “home” in the wake of the pandemic state crisis management in Germany. The article presents central dimensions of German care familialism and care nationalism to demonstrate how – and which – hierarchies of care/carelessness are systematically established and deepened within the current state of pandemic policies – from the neglect of those who cannot retreat to a “safe home” to the necropolitics of tightened border regimes and carelessness towards those who are recruited to provide care as live-in or illegalised domestic workers. Against an often-unquestioned methodological familialism and methodological nationalism in current care debates, a research agenda is proposed, which methodologically and conceptually decentres the family and the nation as the dominant formations through which care relations are institutionalised.

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