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    Dis/Entangling Disability, Mental Health, and the Cultural Politics of Care

    Runswick-Cole, Katherine ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9658-9718, Smith, Martina ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2499-4241, Ryan, Sara ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7406-1610 and Douglas, Patty ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8987-6209 (2024) Dis/Entangling Disability, Mental Health, and the Cultural Politics of Care. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 26 (1). pp. 28-43. ISSN 1745-3011

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    Abstract

    This paper explores how understandings of care can be prefigured through engagements with concepts of ableism and sanism as productive and radical companions for (re)thinking care. Working with family carers and people with learning disabilities as part of a co-produced project based in England: Tired of spinning plates: an exploration of the mental health experiences of adults and/or older carers of adults with learning disabilities (National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) 135080, October 2022-November 2024), we notice the absence of the concepts of ableism and sanism in theorisations of the cultural politics of care. We begin by describing family carers’ complex entanglements with categories of ‘carer’, ‘learning disability’, and ‘mental health’. We draw on theorisations of ableism and sanism to inform our analysis of caring relationships, attending to the dis/temporalities and dis/locations of care and the centrality of dis/political love. We conclude by reflecting on what academics, policy makers and practitioners might learn about caring practices from family carers and people with learning disabilities, crucially acknowledging and embracing the power of dis/political love in caring relationships.

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