Maintaining the Menstruating Body: Feminist Interventions on Care Resources
Fox, Sarah Elizabeth
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This dissertation examines recent industry and policy initiatives aimed at extending menstrual resources, as well as participatory grassroots programs operating alongside these efforts. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork across maintenance institutions, activist organizations, and social enterprise businesses, I first use the notion of managerial vision to describe how imaginaries of supervisory control figure sites of public hygiene such as restrooms. Through building Internet of Things (IoT) devices, I next interrogate the collective responsibility formed amongst different organizational actors who come together to revise the governance strategies that currently define them. Later fieldwork and public collaborative design workshops around the topic of menstrual access bare performative, sensorial encounters and collectivist interventions. Taken together, this research reveals what might appear mundane or instrumental—for instance, menstrual products, their public distribution, and the care labor that sustains them—as integral to material and social innovation, providing conceptual scaffolding toward efforts to design adaptable, community supported, and collaboratively maintained resources.