This book argues that the concept of care is a political and a moral concept. As such, it enables us to examine moral and political life through a radically different lens. The editors and contributors to the book argue that care has the potential to interrogate relationships of power and to be a tool for radical political analysis for an emerging critical social work that is concerned with human rights and social justice.

The book brings a critical ethics of care into the realm of theory and practice in social work. Informed by critical theory, feminism, intersectionality and post-colonialism, the book interrogates the concept of care in a wide range of social work settings. It examines care in the context of social neglect, interdisciplinary perspectives, the responsibilisation agenda in social work and the ongoing debate about care and justice. It situates care in the settings of mental health, homelessness, elder care, child protection, asylum seekers and humanitarian aid. It further demonstrates what can be learnt about care from the post-colonial margins, Aboriginal societies, LGBTI communities and disability politics. It demonstrates ways of transforming the politics and practices of care through the work of feminist mothers, caring practices by men, meditations on love, rethinking self-care, extending care to the natural environment and the principles informing cross-species care.

The book will be invaluable to social workers, human service practitioners and managers who are involved in the practice of delivering care, and it will assist them to challenge the punitive and hurtful strategies of neoliberal rationalisation. The critical theoretical focus of the book has significance beyond social work, including nursing, psychology, medicine, allied health and criminal justice.

part I|59 pages

Framing care

chapter 2|11 pages

Social ethics of care in a context of social neglect

A five-country discussion

chapter 3|11 pages

Re-imagining social work’s engagement with care

Intimations from a progressive and critically connected paradigm

chapter 4|11 pages

‘Duty of care’ or ‘duty to care’

The responsibilisation of social work

chapter 5|11 pages

Care and justice

Two sides of the same coin of a critical care ethics in social work

part II|66 pages

Situating care

chapter 7|10 pages

I’ve got your back

Learning with homeless people about care, mutuality and solidarity

chapter 8|10 pages

From state to market

Reclaiming a critical ethics of elder care

chapter 10|11 pages

Caring in an uncaring context

Towards a critical ethics of care in social work with people seeking asylum

chapter 11|11 pages

Humanitarian aid and social development

A political ethics of care view of international social work practice

part III|45 pages

Unsettling care

chapter 12|10 pages

Speaking of care from the periphery

The politics of caring from the post-colonial margins

chapter 14|13 pages

‘No sex, please …’

Applying a critical ethics of care perspective to social care provision for older lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults

part IV|68 pages

Transforming care

chapter 16|11 pages

Conceptualising mothers’ care work as maternal practice

Implications for feminist practice with mothers

chapter 17|11 pages

Do men care?

From uncaring masculinities to men’s caring practices in social work

chapter 18|10 pages

Where is the love?

Meditations on a critical ethics of care and love in social work

chapter 19|12 pages

Re-working self-care

From individual to collective responsibility through a critical ethics of care

chapter 20|10 pages

The politics of climate change

The need for a critical ethics of care in relation to the environment

chapter 21|12 pages

Critical social work and cross-species care

An intersectional perspective on ethics, principles and practices