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Untitled: Self-care Through Communal Acts

Renée Whittaker

What is self-care, and how does it work? Is it something that all people have access to? This paper, which is an introduction to my PhD project, aims to challenge the canons of self-care while arguing that they are embedded in capitalistic individualism. I look specifically at communal child-rearing and other load-bearing practices such as child-shifting, and closely examine the benefits of communal caring practices in direct response to current beliefs of what self-care should look like. Through this approach, I investigate Black women’s communal anticapitalistic resistance and its positive effects in challenging neoliberal ideologies.

Keywords: Communal Care, Self-care, Neoliberal, Black Women’s Resistance

Renée Whittaker is currently a first year PhD student at Queen’s University in Cultural Studies. She holds a BA and an MA in Sociology. Her focus is on Communal caring practices as a response to the systemic and institutional barriers that exist within the notion of self-care. By looking at diasporic Afro-Caribbean women within Canada, Renée aims to rediscover practices that have been push into obscurity by neoliberal discourses by leaning on the scholarship of both critical race theory and Caribbean scholarship.