Book, edited bij Petr Urban and Lizzie Ward

Care Ethics, Democratic Citizenship and the State

The collection of articles in Care Ethics, Democratic Citizenship and the State invites reflection on how to think about the democratic caring state within different contexts globally. In this article editors Lizzie Ward and Petr Urban  present the publication.

The Story of the Book

The collection developed from an international conference organised by Petr Urban and held at the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague in November 2017. Joan Tronto accepted the invitation to give a keynote lecture at this conference and attracted care scholars coming from four different continents and willing to share their thoughts on current topics in political theory of care.

The conference was a beginning of a lovely and productive cooperation between us (the co-editors) for next two years, which resulted into the publication of the volume launched on 15th October 2020. We dwelled upon issues relevant for political theory of care with a webinar that day. Needless to say, this volume is a collective result of an enjoyable cooperation between us, the editors, and the authors of the book’s chapters. We want to thank them all for their effort and contribution. We also want to thank many fellow care ethicists, colleagues and friends who supported us in various ways during the work on this project.

Main Aims

Since its first articulation in the 1980s care ethics has increasingly become an influential current of contemporary moral thought. Over the last two and a half decade many care scholars challenged the traditional boundary between ethics and politics and made a case for placing care at the centre of political life.

This has led, over the years since, to a flourishing of work exploring the implications of care theory for a variety of political issues, including welfare policy, public health care, education, criminal justice, national security, and international relations.

Our book aims to contribute to these developments through new theoretical insights and new applications of care ethics in different geographical locations and contexts. It aims to offer a distinctive contribution to existing work by showing how care ethics is leaving the location of its origins and travelling geographically, theoretically and across disciplines.

This is illustrated in the collection in a number of ways. The book charts the intellectual journey by bringing care ethics into dialogue with other political theories and philosophies concerning democracy, citizenship and the state. The journey, in a more literal sense, can be seen in contributions which illustrate how care ethics is being used and applied in new geographic locations, such as India, Japan and Central and Eastern Europe.

The book thus invites reflection on how to think about the democratic caring state within different contexts globally. The collection consequently brings together authors from Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Sweden, UK, and the US working across the disciplinary fields of ethics, political science, philosophy, and social policy.

The book also aims to speak to current day problems, such as the rise in populism and the far right to the loss of trust in political systems. It demonstrates the continuing relevance of care ethics, from the early critique of gender inequalities in its original formulation of the 1980s, to the present and its capacity to address and critique the political issues of today.

It offers not only new theoretical developments in political theory of care but also practical motivations to practitioners and civic society. We hope that this combination of both theoretical insight and applied case studies offer a comprehensive volume for students as well as challenging new perspectives to those more familiar with care ethics.

Structure and contents

The book consists of fourteen chapters and is divided into two parts.

Part I elaborates on core concepts in a political theory of care. The authors of these chapters take up the debates in care ethics by providing fresh perspectives on the seminal notions such as democratic citizenship, social and political participation, moral and political deliberation, solidarity and situated attentive knowledge.

Part II illustrates the point that care ethics is moving beyond its origins geographically and intellectually. In each chapter we see authors using care ethics to think through a range of issues related to care and democratic practice in specific contexts. These include a diverse range of areas such as education, welfare, care services, public institutions, migration, healthcare and constitutional reform. In these contributions, the authors consider the role of the state and the relationship between care and citizenship in national contexts or as wider global issues.

About the Authors

Lizzie Ward is a principal research fellow at the University of Brighton, UK. Lizzie is a qualitative researcher and her interests include age and ageing, care ethics, participatory research and experiential knowledge, gender and feminist methodologies. She works in the field of community participatory research and has a particular interest in co-production and working with older people as co-researchers. She has published in the areas of applying care ethics to research practice and social care practice with older people. She is co-editor with Petr Urban of the collection ‘Care Ethics, Democratic Citizenship and the State’.

Petr Urban is a senior researcher at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague where he leads the Department of Contemporary Continental Philosophy. He has published widely in the areas of phenomenological philosophy, care ethics and applied ethics. He is author of the books Geburt der Phänomenologie (2010), Phenomenology of the Body (2011 in Czech), The Early Husserl and the Philosophy of Language (2013 in Czech) and How do We Understand Others? (2016 in Czech). He is co-editor with Lizzie Ward of the collection ‘Care Ethics, Democratic Citizenship and the State’. He was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Center CUNY with Virgina Held (2013/14) and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna (2013).

About the author: Webteam

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