What does it mean to focus practices of responsibility around sick/unwellness during pandemic times? Using a disability justice framework and drawing from my experiences as a chronically ill / sick person, in this article, I argue that responsibility takes on different meanings when examined through a critical framework that recognizes sickness as an ordinary aspect of life under interlocking systems of power, such as capitalism, White supremacy, ableism/sanism, and cisheteropatriarchy. In particular, I contend that beginning conversations about responsibility from the assumption of sickness - that everyone either sick or has the potential to become sick and that sick people are always impacted by individuals' actions- generates space for relational transformation towards more meaningful, substantive practices of responsibility. Moreover, because of the ways that pandemic times have disproportionately harmed chronically ill, sick, and immunocompromised peoples, I assert that sickening responsibility is both an urgent task for social justice activists and organizers and one which has the capacity to support the life of individuals and communities in the midst of great uncertainty, fear, suffering, and loss. The purpose of this paper is to intervene in and expand conversations about responsibility that so often marginalize and exclude disabled/crip folks, and sick people especially.
Shelton, Samuel Z.
"Sickening Responsibility- Thoughts on Care Work from a Chronically Ill Scholar Activist,"
International Journal on Responsibility: Vol. 4:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/ijr/vol4/iss1/3