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  • Author or Editor: Lizzie Ward x
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Caring for ourselves informs of our species activity. Over recent years the concept of ‘self-care’ has been mobilized by policy makers and governments in the deepening of neoliberal objectives to dismantle public welfare resources and shift responsibility for care onto individual citizens. Yet ideas about self-care have a longer and wider history as part of collective struggles - for recognition of the experiences of disabled people, of women’s health movements challenging medical hierarchies and in contexts of community-led peer support and self-help groups. This chapter problematizes the concept of self-care and the implications of its co-option into neo-liberal objectives of enforcing individual responsibilities. It argues that an alternative articulation of self-care based in care ethics is vital if to secure government responsibility for the care and welfare of citizens.

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Critical advances in international perspective

Over the last 20 years there has been a flourishing of work on feminist care ethics. This collection makes a unique contribution to this body of work. The international contributors demonstrate the significance of care ethics as a transformative way of thinking across diverse geographical, policy and interpersonal contexts. From Tronto’s analysis of global responsibilities, to Fudge Schormans’ re-imagining of care from the perspective of people with learning disabilities, chapters highlight the necessity of thinking about the ethics of care to achieve justice and well-being within policies and practice. This book will be essential reading for all those seeking such outcomes.

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Over recent years much attention on alcohol has focused on younger people’s drinking and in particular on binge drinking and anti-social behaviour in public spaces. When we think about the problematic use of alcohol we do not tend to think about older people, and alcohol use amongst older people is a neglected area in research, policy and practice. This chapter explores how older women talk about the place of alcohol in their lives drawing on a study which sought to understand people’s life journeys as they get older, the kinds of issues they face, their problems and concerns and how alcohol may relate to these factors. This chapter suggests that there are both problematic and positive aspects to older women’s alcohol use which need to be understood within the relational contexts of their lives and gendered aspects of ageing.

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Over recent years the drive to give older people ‘a voice’ has gained momentum. Involving older people in the design, delivery, commissioning and monitoring of services is now part of UK government policy. Part of the government’s response to demographic change and an increasingly ageing population has seen the introduction of the UK Advisory Forum on Ageing, with regional forums to help local authorities develop effective engagement strategies. The greater involvement of older people has been expressed in terms of equity and empowerment, and research has been seen as one way of ‘empowering’ older people. This chapter reflects on the authors’ experiences (one as a community partner, the other as an academic researcher) of working together on research with older people. It explores how the authors of this chapter have tried to address the tensions between the social outcomes of enabling older people to be actively involved and their own research agendas, negotiating how they use older people’s experiential knowledge in non-exploitative ways and trying to ensure the research has an impact yet still genuinely involving everyone who takes part.

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Over the last 20 years there has been a flourishing of work on feminist care ethics. This collection makes a unique contribution to this body of work. The international contributors demonstrate the significance of care ethics as a transformative way of thinking across diverse geographical, policy and interpersonal contexts. From Tronto’s analysis of global responsibilities, to Fudge Schormans’ re-imagining of care from the perspective of people with learning disabilities, chapters highlight the necessity of thinking about the ethics of care to achieve justice and well-being within policies and practice. This book will be essential reading for all those seeking such outcomes.

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Over the last 20 years there has been a flourishing of work on feminist care ethics. This collection makes a unique contribution to this body of work. The international contributors demonstrate the significance of care ethics as a transformative way of thinking across diverse geographical, policy and interpersonal contexts. From Tronto’s analysis of global responsibilities, to Fudge Schormans’ re-imagining of care from the perspective of people with learning disabilities, chapters highlight the necessity of thinking about the ethics of care to achieve justice and well-being within policies and practice. This book will be essential reading for all those seeking such outcomes.

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The ethics of care has developed substantially since its early articulation by Gilligan as distinct from justice ethics. Much of its power derives from its capacity to offer insights into care as both personal and political, and to work with both philosophical as well as empirical social science understandings of the meaning of care. Thus recent formulations enable us to think care and justice together, rather than suggesting that one or the other should determine policy and practice. The ethics of care has particular significance as a critical perspective and basis for transformation in the light of the failures of neo-liberalism and evidence of the crisis in care. It also provides a necessary way of approaching care as an international and global issue.

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The ethics of care offers not only a perspective on the analysis of social policies, practices and relationships within everyday lives, but an opportunity to renew or transform them. For such transformations to take place it is necessary to understand and address the barriers that get in the way of this. One such is what Tronto has identified as ‘privileged irresponsibility’. To counter this, dialogue between those occupying different positions in relation to care can enable both personal and political transformation. And it can enable the development of the solidarity that constitutes Tronto’s fifth phase of care: caring with.

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