Dr Patrick McKearney

Research Associate & Affiliated Lecturer at Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Research Associate & Affiliated Lecturer, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge

Patrick studied for a BA and an MPhil in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Cambridge, before he made the switch to the Social Anthropology department for his PhD. His doctoral research focused on L'Arche, a renowned, international federation of religious communities for people with learning disabilities.

He conducted 15 months of ethnographic research on a L'Arche community in the UK that receives government funding to provide care for adults with moderate to severe cognitive impairments. Unlike other care organisations in Britain, the carers and the cared for in L'Arche typically live together in large shared houses, aiming to create a religious community around those with disabilities. His dissertation is in the process of becoming 'Care of the Soul', a book that explores the implications of L’Arche’s attempt to push caring relationships beyond the contractual for our thinking about subjectivity, care, and ethics.

After working as a Teaching Associate in Social Anthropology for the last couple of years, he is now taking up a position as a Research Associate at the Department's Max Planck Cambridge Centre for the Study of Ethics, Human Economy, and Social Change. His new research explores how people with intellectual disabilities fare in situations of social change and economic development, especially when receiving education and care from Christian NGOs like L'Arche in countries where state welfare is scarce.