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Care in everyday life

Care in everyday life: An ethic of care in practice

Marian Barnes
Copyright Date: 2012
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  • Book Info
    Care in everyday life
    Book Description:

    Care has been struggled for, resisted and celebrated. The failure to care in 'care services' has been seen as a human rights problem and evidence of malaise in contemporary society. But care has also been implicated in the oppression of disabled people and demoted in favour of choice in health and social care services. In this bold wide ranging book Marian Barnes argues for care as an essential value in private lives and public policies. She considers the importance of care to well-being and social justice and applies insights from feminist care ethics to care work, and care within personal relationships. She also looks at 'stranger relationships', how we relate to the places in which we live, and the way in which public deliberation about social policy takes place. This book will be vital reading for all those wanting to apply relational understandings of humanity to social policy and practice.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-824-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. About the Author
    (pp. iv-iv)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. v-vi)
  5. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Care is an enduring and contested issue in social policy. Empirical research and policy analysis have addressed issues concerning the political economy of care; shifting assumptions about where care responsibilities lie; the issues of ‘who cares’ and what are the personal, interpersonal and social impacts of care giving and receiving. Beyond the discipline of social policy, care has been the subject of sociological, psychosocial and philosophical debates as well as critiques and challenges from those who have experienced both lay and professional care as oppressive and a denial of citizenship. While political and practice debates continue, everyday discourse remains suffused...

  6. TWO Conceptual, philosophical and political perspectives on care
    (pp. 11-34)

    In this chapter I consider the re–emergence of a search for connections in response to dominant emphases on the rational, choice–making individual of the neo–liberals, and ways of conceptualising and theorising this. Work on an ethic of care has become influential in analyses of social welfare policies and practices as it has extended beyond its origins in feminist psychology (Gilligan, 1982). Political philosophers (eg Tronto, 1993; Sevenhuijsen, 1998; Kittay, 1999) have developed an analysis of care as a political as well as a personal practice and have argued the necessity of care to social justice, based on...

  7. THREE Care in families
    (pp. 35-60)

    The archetypal image of care is that of a mother and child. The universal and enduring nature of that relationship of care is one that is repeated time and again in discussions of the significance of care. For Nel Noddings, one of the ‘first wave’ care ethicists, it is the mother—child relationship that serves as the model from which to describe and assess other caring relationships (Noddings, 1984). This position has been critiqued by others both because of its tendency to essentialise gender and because of its individualised approach to care (eg Sevenhuijsen, 1998), but no–one has suggested...

  8. FOUR Working at care
    (pp. 61-84)

    Modern welfare states accept some responsibility for ensuring the wellbeing of those who become ill or frail, are born or become disabled, or experience difficulties and disadvantage through poverty or other forms of material deprivation. The precise division of responsibility between public and private, state and family, is a matter of ideological, cultural and political debate and both the practice and study of social policy focuses substantially on where this boundary should lie and how this should be determined. Similarly, the question of who a state accepts responsibility for is contested and shifting. Attempts under the Poor Law to define...

  9. FIVE Friends, neighbours and communities
    (pp. 85-104)

    An ethic of care highlights the relational nature of what it is to be human. As I have argued in Chapters Three and Four, this necessitates an understanding of different types of relationship and of the characteristics of relationships in which the giving and receiving of care contributes to nurturing, growth and well–being, and to making a world that we can live in together as well as possible. The two previous chapters have focused on the types of relationship which are, in a social policy context, typically considered as the main contexts within which care is given and received:...

  10. SIX Civility, respect, care and justice: the ‘comfort of strangers’?
    (pp. 105-124)

    In his analysis of the ‘hierarchy’ of obligations for care, Engster (2007) includes in his identification of the ‘special relationships’ which constitute the second level of responsibility (after care for self), a stranger in need for whom we are the only source of succour, for example an injured walker in a deserted landscape. By so doing, he disentangles care from intimate relationships and links it also with what he refers to as ‘circumstantial dependency’ (p 57). He also names ‘general duties to care for all others in need’ (p 57) as the lowest level of obligation, but nevertheless one that...

  11. SEVEN Places and environments
    (pp. 125-146)

    In this chapter I consider Tronto and Fisher’s inclusion of ‘the environment’ within the life–sustaining web of care. This has potentially very broad implications, encompassing our relationships with the micro environments in which we live, through to the global level and the relationship of humanity to the planet on which we live. As we will see, adopting this perspective takes us into some similar territory to that addressed in the previous chapter in relation to care for distant others. ‘Care for the environment’ is one of the familiar, everyday ways in which the concept of care is invoked. In...

  12. EIGHT Spaces of policy making: deliberating with care
    (pp. 147-166)

    Here I turn to a different type of space from those considered in the previous chapter — the spaces in which social policy decisions are debated and made in the context of participatory modes of governance. Thus the relationships with which I am concerned here are those between politicians, public officials, service users and citizens as coproducers of public policy. In previous chapters I have considered the significance of care in the context of different types of interpersonal relationships, and in the context of relationships between people and certain types of environment within which they live, interact with others and work....

  13. NINE Care: ethics, policy and politics
    (pp. 167-184)

    In this final chapter I want to reflect on what we have learnt from the discussion so far in which I have applied an ethic of care perspective to consideration of the place and significance of care in different contexts. These contexts have included kin and non–kin relationships; relationships with known and unknown others; how people experience and interact with the places in which they live and work and how this, in turn, impacts their social relationships; and finally, how public officials and those who use public services interact during the policy process. My overall argument is that adopting...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 185-202)
  15. Index
    (pp. 203-209)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 210-210)