Carer narratives of fatigue and endurance in Japan and England
Caring for an elderly person often requires constant attention, physically challenging tasks, and emotional strain, all of which accumulate over periods and manifest as fatigue. Despite the prevalence of descriptions of fatigue in carer narratives, and the massive clinical literature on ‘carer burden’ and ‘exhaustion’, the significance of fatigue as a component of care rather than a mere by-product has not been fully explored. Drawing on Levinas’ phenomenological theory of fatigue I argue that experiences of fatigue shape carer subjectivities as both vulnerable and enduring, qualities that are essential for inaugurating new ways of being towards and taking ethical responsibility for the cared-for. At the same time, fatigue can become tragic if not supported by social and cultural narratives that recognize it and give it value.
KeywordsAged care Fatigue Endurance Japan England
- Becker, G. 1997. Disrupted Lives: How People Create Meaning in a Chaotic World. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Brijnath, B. 2014. Unforgotten: Love and the Culture of Dementia Care in India. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
- Butler, J. 2004. Precarious Life: The Power of Mourning and Violence. New York: Verso Books.Google Scholar
- Care Act 2014. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/23/pdfs/ukpga_20140023_en.pdf. Accessed 3 Sept 2017.
- Danely, J. 2016. Affect, Infrastructure and Vulnerability: Making and breaking Japanese eldercare. Medicine Anthropology Theory 3 (2): 198–222.Google Scholar
- Fujiwara, K. 2012. Rethinking Successful Aging from the Perspective of an Aging Japanese Statue of Jizō with Replaceable Heads. Anthropology & Aging 33 (3): 104–111.Google Scholar
- Gaines, A.D. 1992. Medical/Psychiatric Knowledge in France and the United States: Culture and Sickness in History and Biology. In Ethnopsychiatry: The Cultural Construction of Professional and Folk Psychiatries, ed. Atwood D. Gaines, 171–202. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
- Han, C. 2012. Life in Debt: Times of Care and Violence in Neoliberal Chile. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Kirmayer, L.J. 1994. A Symposium on Neurasthenia and Fatigue Syndromes. Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review 31: 99–100. doi:10.1177/136346159403100201.
- Kirmayer, L.J. 2000. Broken Narratives: Clinical Encounters and the Poetics of Illness Experience. In Narrative and the Cultural Construction of Illness and Healing, ed. C. Mattingly, and L. Garro, 153–180. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Kittay, E.F. 1999. Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Lamb, S. 2000. White Saris and Sweet Mangoes Aging, Gender, and Body in North India. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Levinas, E. (1978 ) Existence and Existents. (trans: Alphonso Lingis). Dordrect: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
- Mattingly, Cheryl. 2010. The Paradox of Hope: Journeys Through a Clinical Borderland. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Mol, A., I. Moser, and A.J. Pols. 2010. Care: Putting Practice into Theory. In Care in Practice: On Tinkering in Clinics, Homes and Farms, ed. A. Mol, I. Moser, and J. Pols, 7–26. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag.Google Scholar
- NHK. 2016. I Have Killed a Family Member—Care Murder: Confessions of those Involved [Watshi ha kazoku wo koroshita– kaigo satsujin- tojisha kokuhaku].Google Scholar
- Noddings, N. 2003. Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education, 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Sakellariou, D. 2015. Towards the Construction of a Nicer Life: Subjectivity and the Logic of Choice. Anthropology in Action 22 (1): 46–53.Google Scholar
- Stevenson, L. 2014. Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Topolski, A. 2014. Relationality as a ‘Foundation’ for Human Rights: Exploring the Paradox with Hannah Arendt and Emmanuel Levinas. Theoria and Praxis: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Thought 2 (1): 1–17.Google Scholar
- Tronto, J.C. 1993. Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar