Coordinating the Youth Caregiver in the United States

Representation, Ambivalence and Slow Violence

Keywords: Youth, caregiving, young carer, slow violence, body multiple, health


In this article, I reflect upon Nixon’s (2011) charge to better represent slow violence through the context of youth caregivers in the United States. These youth are invisible in recent efforts to acknowledge the looming national ‘care crisis’. Youth caregivers face a range of barriers to receiving supports, and professionals who interact with youth are largely unaware of the possibility that children and adolescents can be caregivers. I apply an authoethnographic lens to my role as a researcher and advocate explaining my attempts to raise awareness about youth caregiving amongst multiple audiences and through various media. I also discuss how this process of representing and authoring is underpinned with an ambivalence, much of which emerges from creating and stabilizing categories of youth caregivers as a research object. I therefore conclude with a reflection on how ambivalence became a productive partner in representing slow violence through theories of multiplicity, coordination, and epistemic humility/responsibility.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Olson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Professor, Department of Geography and Global Studies


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How to Cite
Olson, E. (2019). Coordinating the Youth Caregiver in the United States. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 18(5), 1150-1166. Retrieved from
Special Issue - Slow Violence (Guest Eds. Caitlin Cahill & Rachel Pain)