This article argues that the private actions of carework during the two different health crises of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia (2014–15) and the AIDS epidemic in Zambia (1984–present) were acts of citizenship, a set of deeds done to benefit society, not merely a legal status. Carework includes mundane, unpaid activities, such as feeding the sick. It became citizenship because it was rooted in community obligations, generated reciprocal ties with others, and transformed careworkers’ identities. Because their work advanced the public interest, careworkers had the legitimacy to make rights claims to governments and donors, with some of them publicly and privately demanding representation, remuneration, and material supplies. Based on twenty-seven interviews and fourteen focus-group discussions with careworkers, as well as thirty-six interviews with government and donor officials, this article contributes insights on citizenship in health crises when governments, donors, and local people struggle to formulate solutions to public problems.


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pp. 28-54
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