Chapter 1: The politics and practices of care: pandemic possibilities
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This chapter explores post-pandemic possibilities for the organization of care work in ways more consistent with realizing “caring democracy” (Tronto). Specifically, the rapid, significant, and universal expansion of public support early in the pandemic marked a promising if imperfect alternative to the U.S. convention of linking care to notions of moral deservingness, the work ethic, and employment. The pandemic was also marked by informal practices of care, ranging from mutual aid efforts to “pods” as forms of organizing non-kin, non-wage care-giving. Taken together, these pandemic practices begin to challenge the hegemony of free markets and families for organizing care work. Embracing these challenges is a critical move in the direction of more caring democracy.

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