If the Anthropocene is the Capitalocene, then one of its signature attributes in the drive for profits is the abstraction of life itself and of the human/nonhuman relations that sustain it, creating a wake of waste in its path. Repairing the fraying human and ecological systems that underwrite life entails ongoing care work that is frequently invisible or devalued, and whose burdens fall disproportionately on vulnerable populations. We detail this through three connected instances: infrastructural labour that recuperates the detritus of city life; social reproductive labour that undergirds these systems and life itself; and hands-on repair work inherent to care. By understanding maintenance and repair work as care, our paper demonstrates the importance of this labour to our collective survival in a broken world, and the imperative of embracing a care ethics where we shoulder together the everyday burdens and benefits to live “as well as possible”.
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© 2021 The Authors. Antipode © 2021 Antipode Foundation Ltd.
- repair and maintenance