The Caring State: The Politics of Contradiction in Ferguson, Missouri
AuthorSharron, Kelly Christina
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation develops the theory of “the caring state,” in the context of Ferguson, Missouri. The caring state discusses the ways the state operates through care, empathy, kindness, and inclusion in order to commit violence, harm, and militarization. While these techniques of power appear as two different, discrete, and contradictory modes, I argue they work in tandem and are both productive of institutionalized racism. State power is often narrated through care, not in contradiction to violence, but to enable it. This dissertation is critical of the aspirational and empathetic modes of statecraft for what they conceal and make possible. I critique feminist literature on care, which unequivocally represents care as desirable, and seeks to make institutions more caring. I am also critical of the over-representation of militarism, which neglects other kinds of state power. After Michael Brown’s death, the militarization of the police force was demonstrated and broadly critiqued, while the state’s production of empathy and care was welcomed. I demonstrate throughout this dissertation that care produces violence, and what appear as contradictory modes of statecraft are integral to the function of police and other state institutions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Gender & Women’s Studies