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Care, community and citizenshipResearch and practice in a changing policy context$
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Susan Balloch and Michael Hill

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348715

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348715.001.0001

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Participation, citizenship and a feminist ethic of care

Participation, citizenship and a feminist ethic of care

Chapter:
(p.59) Four Participation, citizenship and a feminist ethic of care
Source:
Care, community and citizenship
Author(s):

Marian Barnes

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781861348715.003.0005

This chapter proposes a way of thinking about care as a value relevant to contemporary concerns about the way in which we live together and decide together: concerns that are variously conceptualised within policy discourse by reference to community cohesion, social inclusion, community involvement, and civil renewal. A particular aim is to offer a critique of policy discourses of civil renewal from an ethic of care perspective. Civil renewal, as elaborated in Home Office publications, promotes normative notions of the responsibilities of citizenship. Citizens are exhorted to become involved in voluntary action or participatory projects in order to enhance community cohesion and to promote the general social good. The way in which responsible citizenship is conceptualised within this discourse is contrasted with how people speak about their motivations for involvement in groups of service users and citizens seeking to bring about policies capable of achieving social justice for marginalised or disadvantaged groups. In order to make this comparison, the chapter draws on feminist writing on an ethic of care. It argues that ‘care’ is usually absent from official discourses of citizenship, participation, and civil renewal, and indeed has also become devalued in the context of those policy areas with which it has been more strongly associated – community or social care.

Keywords:   community cohesion, social inclusion, community development, civil renewal, social justice

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