Social Policy and the Ethic of Care
188 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jul 2005
Release Date:27 Oct 2004
Release Date:01 Oct 2007

Social Policy and the Ethic of Care

UBC Press

The feminist ethic of care has received much attention in scholarly circles recently. An ethic of care is concerned most of all with contextualizing the human condition, being responsive to people’s individual differences through a particular form of engagement, and taking into account the consequences of decisions in terms of relieving burdens, hurt, or suffering. Although the theory continues to develop, less attention has been paid to its practical implications. To date, the relationship between care ethics and public policy in the Canadian context has not been investigated.

Through a series of case studies, this book considers the implications of this ethic for a range of Canadian social policy issues. The author examines how the ethic of care, if properly applied, might change specific policies, and what lessons might be learned about the theory of care from such a focused application. Her examples demonstrate the extent to which a care orientation differs from a justice orientation, and provide an alternative normative framework for interpreting, understanding, and evaluating social policy.

Social Policy and the Ethic of Care bridges the gap between theoretical and public policy analysis in revealing why Canadian social policy is lacking and how it could be made more effective and robust by the inclusion of an ethic of care. This interdisciplinary text is essential reading for scholars and students of gender or feminist studies, philosophy, political theory, and social policy.

This book deserves sustained applause and attention ... With her firm grasp of the Canadian scene and fine writing style, Hankivsky has produced an essential study for all who care about a caring society. Sylvia Bashevkin, author of Welfare Hot Buttons: Women, Work, and Social Policy Reform
Hankivsky makes an innovative and important contribution to the rapidly proliferating literature on care ethics ... Hankivsky’s application of the ethics of care to social policy is especially significant and much needed. Fiona Robinson, author of Globalizing Care: Feminist Theory, Ethics, and International Relations
An essential read for policy analysts working in the areas of social and economic policies. It should also be read by politicians contemplating changes in our social safety network. An important contribution to the social policy literature. Sandra Burt, author of Changing Methods: Feminists Transforming Practic
Olena Hankivsky is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, and adjunct professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University.

Preface and Acknowledgments


1 First-Generation Care Theorists and Liberal Assessments of Care

2 Second-Generation Care Theorists and the Moral Principles of Care

3 The Interpretation of Equality: A Study of Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

4 Therapeutic Jurisprudence: A Care-Informed Approach for Compensating Victims of Institutional Abuse

5 Economic Costing in Social Policy: The Ethics of Quantifying Intangible Losses

6 Caregiving: Reconceptualizing the Public/Private Divide Conclusion




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