Afterword: materialities, care, 'ordinary affects', power and politics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper I explore ways of thinking about material practices in terms of hierarchies of value as well as assemblages, in which strategic agendas are made present in everyday practices, with profound affects as well as effects. For example, I suggest how power can work through the association of multiple and heterogeneous materials and social processes to create ‘thresholds’, as spaces through which people must pass in order to be included as patients, and which circulate specific imaginaries over what counts as an appropriate need. I go on to suggest how some material practices are made mundane and immaterial, that is inconsequential, so that drawing attention to their importance in how care is done (or not done) helps disrupt the commonplace production and reproduction of the ‘neglected things’ (Puig de la Bellacasa 2012) of healthcare environments, and by so doing help reimagine what is important for occasions to actually be caring. Specifically, I shift to thinking about a sensibility, one that is highly valued in this collection of articles, that helps illuminate different imaginaries of care to those that dominate heathcare environments, an approach that I have called elsewhere ‘relational extension’. Relational extension is the attachment to and detachment from materials through which specific kinds of relations are done and through which world-making is accomplished, and especially how switches between extensions, or motility, re-accomplishes stabilities. While I have shown in my work on medicine and healthcare how this sensibility includes focussing on how entanglement in assemblages and ‘motility’ helps reproduce stabilities (e.g. Latimer 2004, 2013 a,b), in the example I offer here I show how shifts in extension and motility disrupts stabilities and their reproduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-391
Number of pages13
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details


  • materiality
  • care
  • assemblage
  • Relational extension

Cite this