Rethinking care as alternate infrastructure

Ashraful Alam*, Donna Houston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


We defend a particular view of care as alternate infrastructure. Drawing insights from feminist care ethics we rethink the dynamics between care and infrastructure to trace out more inclusive infrastructural conditions in cities. We use feminist ethics of “caring with” and the relational reading of infrastructure as “a specific form of life” to analyse everyday non-institutional care spaces in three cities. We observe that these care spaces involve particular labour, conditions and agencies in time and place that help recognise actually emerging and everyday care practices producing democratic infrastructural outcomes. These care spaces remain flexible to accommodate the caregiver and the care receiver without differentiating their abilities (or inabilities) of caring. The repertoire of agencies is not always limited to intra-human relations but sometimes extends to more-than-human relations. We develop a framework of diverse “care collectives”" to propose a shift of focus from the normative infrastructure of care that is sometimes produced through and sites of structural inequalities, elsewhere described as “infrastructural violence”. We conclude, a care-full infrastructural ‘turn’ in geographical and urban studies is timely to transform the social and political thinking in the treatment of ‘others’ – a necessary step to establish public care for participatory urban flourishing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102662
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Care as infrastructure
  • Caring with
  • Democracy
  • Feminist care ethics
  • More-than-human
  • Public care


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