Critical Approaches to Care: Understanding Caring Relations, Identities and Cultures, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Critical Approaches to Care

Understanding Caring Relations, Identities and Cultures, 1st Edition

Edited by Chrissie Rogers, Susie Weller


240 pages

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What does ‘care’ mean in contemporary society? How are caring relationships practised in different contexts? What resources do individuals and collectives draw upon in order to care for, care with and care about themselves and others? How do such relationships and practices relate to broader social processes?

Care shapes people’s everyday lives and relationships and caring relations and practices influence the economies of different societies. This interdisciplinary book takes a nuanced and context-sensitive approach to exploring caring relationships, identities and practices within and across a variety of cultural, familial, geographical and institutional arenas. Grounded in rich empirical research and discussing key theoretical, policy and practice debates, it provides important, yet often neglected, international and cross-cultural perspectives. It is divided into four sections covering: caring within educational institutions; caring amongst communities and networks; caring and families; and caring across the life-course.

Contributing to broader theoretical, philosophical and moral debates associated with the ethics of care, citizenship, justice, relationality and entanglements of power, Critical Approaches to Care is an important work for students and academics studying caring and care work in the fields of health and social care, sociology, social policy, anthropology, education, human geography and politics.


‘Critical Approaches to Care is a rich and engaging work, both theoretically and empirically. Its richness is enhanced through its cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural focus. Through a series of case studies, it explores the moral dilemmas, power relations, ethical considerations, and even unwelcome demands of care from a range of perspectives and across different political contexts. It is a feminist-inspired work that is both inclusionary and respectful of diversity. It examines the many equality and gender justice dilemmas posed by care work, be it through caring for intellectually disabled children, fostering, transnational caring, fathering or mothering. At a theoretical level, it addresses the tensions between an ethics of care and an ethic of justice. The book challenges us to consider how an ethic of care can reinvent understanding of what is socially just in a deeply uncaring and unequal world. It should be read not only by academics and students but by all of those with a public policy remit.’ – Kathleen Lynch, Professor of Equality Studies in the School of Social Justice, UCD, Ireland.

‘Care is both deeply unfashionable in contemporary social policy, and an enduring focus for understanding everyday lives and social practices. This collection is a major contribution to the re-emergence of applied research and scholarship recognizing the centrality of care in diverse personal and professional relationships, and as a political value.’ – Marian Barnes, Professor of Social Policy, University of Brighton.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Understanding Care and Thinking with Care Georgia Philip, Chrissie Rogers and Susie Weller Section I: Caring within Educational Institutions Chapter 2. Reclaiming Care in Early Childhood Education and Care Paulette Luff Chapter 3. Revisiting Care in Schools: Exploring the Caring Experiences of Disengaged Young People Uthel Laurent Chapter 4. At Risk Pupils and the ‘Caring’ Curriculum Val Gillies and Yvonne Robinson Chapter 5. A Discourse Analytic Study of Power as Caring Relations in Philippine University Classrooms Mabelle Victoria Section I Summary: Caring within Educational Institutions Paulette Luff, Uthel Laurent, Val Gillies, Yvonne Robinson and Mabelle Victoria Section II: Caring amongst Communities and Networks Chapter 6. A Different Way of Caring? An Exploration of Alternative Health Care Relationships Maxine Birch and Nina Nissen Chapter 7. ‘Men’s Business’?: Black Men’s Caring within Black-Led Community Organisations Tracey Reynolds Chapter 8. Tea and Tupperware: Mommy Blogging as Care, Work, and Consumption Andrea Doucet and Natasha Mauthner Chapter 9. Researching 'Care', Family and Neighbourhood in Tehran, Iran Linda Bell Section II Summary: Caring amongst Communities and Networks Maxine Birch, Nina Nissen, Tracey Reynolds, Andrea Doucet, Natasha Mauthner and Linda Bell Section III: Caring For and About Families Chapter 10. Foster Care in Ambiguous Contexts: Competing Understandings of Care Linda Nutt Chapter 11. Intellectual Disability and Mothering: An Engagement with Ethics of Care and Emotional Work Chrissie Rogers Chapter 12. Working at Post-divorce Family Life: The Feminist Ethics of Care as a Framework for Exploring Fathering after Divorce or Separation Georgia Philip Section III summary: Caring For and About Families Linda Nutt, Chrissie Rogers, Georgia Philip Section IV: Caring across the Life Course Chapter 13. Who Cares? Exploring the Shifting Nature of Care and Caring Practices in Sibling Relationships Susie Weller Chapter 14. Care Arrangements of Transnational Migrant Elders: Between Family, Community and the State Elisabetta Zontini Chapter 15. Caring after Death: Issues of Embodiment and Relationality Jane Ribbens McCarthy Section IV Summary: Caring across the Life-Course Susie Weller, Elisabetta Zontini and Jane Ribbens McCarthy

About the Editors

Chrissie Rogers is a Reader in Education and Director of the Childhood and Youth Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

Susie Weller is a Senior Research Fellow in the Families & Social Capital Research Group at London South Bank University, UK.

About the Series

Relationships and Resources

A key contemporary political and intellectual issue is the link between the relationships that people have and the resources to which they have access.  When people share a sense of identity, hold similar values, trust each other and reciprocally do things for each other, this has an impact on the social, political and economic cohesion of the society in which they live.  So, are changes in contemporary society leading to deterioration in the link between relationships and resources, or new and innovative forms of linking, or merely the reproduction of enduring inequalities? Consideration of relationships and resources raises key theoretical and empirical issues around change and continuity over time as well as time use, the consequences of globalisation and individualisation for intimate and broader social relations, and location and space in terms of communities and neighbourhoods.  The books in this series are concerned with elaborating these issues and form a body of work that will contribute to academic and political debate.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects
MEDICAL / Health Care Delivery
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Marriage & Family