Vaittinen, T., Asikainen, E., Rajala, A. I., Lahtinen, T., & Törnävä, M. (2021). Ekohyvinvointivaltion katveessa: Aikuisvaippojen puheenparret suomalaisessa hyvinvointivaltiossa . Alue Ja Ympäristö, 50(2), 117–135. https://doi.org/10.30663/ay.109146
Shadowing the shadows of the ecowelfare state: Listening to the adult incontinence pads’ parlance in the Finnish welfare stateAdult incontinence, both urinary and faecal, are common conditions. Incontinence, however, and the pads utilised for its management, are silenced. Like waste in the welfare state, they are in the shadows of wellbeing and overshadowed by it. Various behavioural norms make them invisible and unspeakable: something that should not disturb the administrative order. Pad waste is doubly in the shadows. The incontinence pads thus mark the most silenced corners of the welfare state. When envisioning the ecowelfare state, mapping such silences is vital. In an ecowelfare state, ecologically sustainable good life must be guaranteed for all bodies, also those unable to control their bladder or bowels. In this article, we explore the administrative discourses and silences around incontinence pads. Methodologically, the article combines multi-sited ethnography with feminist science and technology studies and Derridean deconstruction, to sketch potential trajectories towards the ecowelfare state from the viewpoint of incontinence. Drawing on data on the municipal administration of the Finnish pad economy, we show how the ecowelfare state should be a welfare state designed for leaking bodies. This requires adequate continence care, cure, prevention and rehabilitation, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructures, which sewage systems alone do not solve.
Keywords: adult diaper, deconstruction, ecowelfare state, incontinence