, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 89–103 | Cite as

Relating through differences: disability, affective relationality, and the U.S. public healthcare assemblage

  • Akemi NishidaEmail author
Original Article


Using affect theory and disability theory, this article theorizes relationality as it emerges between disabled people who require daily assistance and their paid care providers. In response to the question of how people relate when not only their social identities but also their embodied capacities are different, the concept of affective relationality is developed. Using the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Spinoza, as well as Harney and Moten, I describe how such relationality emerges based on the ontological, haptic connection of bodies that develops through recursive practices of a task co-conducted by and between those bodies, and is co-capacitative. As this study takes place in the U.S. neoliberal public healthcare assemblage—which involves mainly lower- or no-income disabled beneficiaries and their paid workers who are disproportionately lower-income, non/immigrant women of color—the concept of affective relationality is brought into the political arena by contemplating what the relationality does in such assemblage.


Relationality Disability Difference Affect theory 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Disability and Human Development and Gender and Women’s StudiesUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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