On the Potentialities of Spaces of Care: Openness, Enticement, and Variability in a Psychiatric Center

AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in Science, Technology, and Human Values: “On the Potentialities of Spaces of Care: Openness, Enticement, and Variability in a Psychiatric Center” by Ariane d’Hoop. Abstract:

Science and technology studies (STS) scholars have turned their attention to the materiality of objects and buildings in order to examine what they make users do in practice. Taking a close look at a therapeutic community in a psychiatric day care center for teenagers, this paper joins these discussions by exploring the materiality of “spaces of care” as part of the center’s everyday practice. The analysis incorporates the concepts of scripts and dispositifs to describe the conditions of possibility in which caregivers and youths may position themselves in relation to others and to the space itself. This paper describes how spaces of care offer open, enticing, and variable conditions for fostering a dynamic of personal and relational responses as part of the care work. In this sense, the material environment entails potentialities in ways that are unpredictable but nonetheless consequential. Rather than arguing that material arrangements and things act, this paper draws attention to their impact via their potential within dispositifs of care that request participants’ attentiveness and responsiveness. Describing these potentialities brings out the subtler requirements of material environments in care practices that aim at circumventing the coercion of disciplinary spaces and their impersonal classifications.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.