For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Care as Work: Mutual Vulnerabilities and Discrete Knowledge"

by Molinier, Pascale (2012)

Abstract

Care is not just a disposition or an ethical attitude. First and foremost care is a form of work, work that can be done or not, chosen to be done or not, indeed something that a society as a whole can choose to do or not. To provide a formal description and a theory of this work seems to me an indispensable condition of an “ethic of care” that would fulfil its goal. Such an ethic would contribute towards the recognition of the people who perform care work in Western societies; people who in the main are females, poor and immigrant, often the three at once, without harming those who benefit from their work; that is, all of us. Care is not rooted in human nature. It is not triggered automatically by contact with the helplessness and dependence of others. Care is produced by a collective effort, a culture of caring for others, which is contingent and can disappear. As the organisation of work no longer makes satisfactory solutions possible, tomorrow, a hospital without care is possible.

Keywords

Care Work, Vulnerability, Ethics Of Care, Gendered Labour, Immigrant Labour, Health Care

Themes

Nursing, Care Work

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