Citizenship and the Ethics of Care: Feminist Considerations on Justice, Morality, and Politics

Citizenship and the Ethics of Care: Feminist Considerations on Justice, Morality, and Politics

Citizenship and the Ethics of Care: Feminist Considerations on Justice, Morality, and Politics

Citizenship and the Ethics of Care: Feminist Considerations on Justice, Morality, and Politics

Synopsis

Care and women's emancipation have often been seen as opposed. Politicians have begun to look again at the issue of care in the context of new reforms in the welfare state, health care policies and family law. Using concrete examples taken from parental rights cases, health care education and the public health sector. Using concrete examples taken from the practice and discourse of care, those found in parental rights issues, health care education, the family and in the public health sector, Sevenhuijsen argues for revaluation of care from a feminist perspective.

Excerpt

Care is important to everyone. Most of us would agree that adequate provision of care is a valuable social good. However, it is exactly this self-evident value of care which raises a problem. For a long time it seemed natural for women to be responsible for care, in families as well as in social services. the modern women’s movement, however, has challenged the self-evidence of women’s caring role. It has argued for a fairer distribution of tasks between men and women, and for a re-evaluation of care as an activity, identity and morality. But the way in which these two aims should be politically combined has not always been as clear. in Dutch government policy, emancipation has for a long time been interpreted simply as increased participation in the labour market, equal rights and autonomy for women. the idea underlying this was that women needed to free themselves from the world of care. in recent years, however, a change has begun to take place: care is now recognized as an important part of our existence, and the idea that care does not necessarily have to be opposed to independence and self-realization is becoming more widely accepted.

In this book, I contribute to this debate from the perspective of political philosophy and, in particular, from the approach to this field adopted in women’s studies. Each chapter will elaborate on a particular aspect of the recent debate about care and justice which has been taking place in various academic disciplines. All the chapters, apart from the first, contain reworkings of earlier texts in which I argue for a re-evaluation of care from a feminist perspective; this implies not only a redistribution of paid labour and caring tasks between men and women, but also a new approach to justice, morality and politics. I argue for a political concept of an ethics of care which is able to embody insights from feminist ethics. the book thus documents a search for ways of placing care within conceptions of democratic citizenship, in the hope that this will enable us to ‘judge with care’.

Many people have contributed to the thinking process which is laid down in this book. I have been encouraged, first of all, by the response I have received over the years at congresses and public discussions, in individual conversations and through publications, as well as by the reception of the feminist

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