Challenging Care: Professionally Not Knowing What Good Care Is

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jats:titleSummary</jats:title>jats:pA dominant trope in the anthropology of care—of revealing a practice to be, despite our moral intuitions to the contrary, really a form of care—limits our understanding of the dynamic processes whereby care’s morality is established in practice. In the British care sector the ideal of care is clear: avoiding coercion and neglect. There are manifold rules designed to hold carers accountable to realizing it. But the rules do not reliably lead to the ideal. Rather, they leave undetermined an enormous amount for carers to fill in. In this setting, whether or not a worker's action becomes “caring” depends on far more than good intentions or following rules. The action's moral status rests, instead, on the contingencies of the relationship with the care recipient. We should refrain from entering into the evaluative work of rearranging the borders of good care in order to investigate how our informants themselves do this in the midst of care’s relational vicissitudes. Doing so enables us to attend to how debates about what constitutes good care are part of broader patterns by which moral responsibility is assigned and distributed within caring relationships.</jats:p>

4401 Anthropology, 44 Human Society, Clinical Research, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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Anthropology and Humanism
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