For a Paleogeography of Childcare:Infant-Carrying Technics on a Dynamic Planet

Clark, Nigel and Whittle, Rebecca (2023) For a Paleogeography of Childcare:Infant-Carrying Technics on a Dynamic Planet. Environment and Planning F: Philosophy, Theory, Models, Methods and Practice. (In Press)

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Abstract

What happens to the mundane practice of carrying infants if we situate it in the context of climate change to come and a deep past of geoclimatic instability? This paper takes the resurgence of baby slings in the UK as an entry point into the deep, evolutionary history of child-carrying, and in this way, as a prompt for an experiment in repurposing the field of paleogeography. This involves viewing the technics of the baby sling both as an aid to mobility and as a materialization of care relations. We extend this approach with the help of the cooperative breeding hypothesis which contends that communally shared childcare has been pivotal to human evolution and survival. We also draw upon theories that attend to the geologically dynamic landscapes of East Africa in which humans evolved and the impact of long-term instabilities of global climate. Fusing these approaches while also accounting for critiques of evolutionary thought, we make a case that infant carrying slings help facilitate a confident, outward-facing orientation both to worlds of complex social interactivity and to an Earth which is rifted, variegated and dynamic.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Environment and Planning F: Philosophy, Theory, Models, Methods and Practice
Subjects:
ID Code:
202784
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
31 Aug 2023 12:55
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
In Press
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 02:17