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Open Access ‘As long as care is attached to gender, there is no justice’

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Care has long been a key field of struggle and discourse for feminist interventions and movements. The significance of gendered assumptions, attitudes, and practices about caring tasks and those who care has led critics to specifically focus on this crucial task of human reproduction that has previously largely been considered a private matter. Starting in the late 1980s, the tensions and conflicts between dominant moral theories and questions of care has been a crucial concern for theorists. Joan C. Tronto, Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, US, has been one of the key thinkers who have developed the ethics of care approach that puts care at the centre of the construction of a new morality. In this interview, Tronto recalls some of the main steps in the development of her own thinking and the formulation of different aspects of a theory of justice that starts with human relationships rather than abstract, completely independent individuals. The interview links Tronto’s personal intellectual journey with the development of a theoretical and ethical perspective that has had strong influences on feminist discourses for several decades. Important contemporary questions such as the relationship between the concept of care and the discursive reproduction of gender are explored and put into a broader context of a feminist theory of justice. Tronto also speaks of her latest attempts to link processes of care and relating with questions of global democratic challenges.
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Keywords: distribution of care; ethics of care; justice; relationships; theory and practice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bernhard Weicht has studied Economics and Social Policy in Austria and the UK and he received his PhD in Sociology from The University of Nottingham. He is currently based at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Bernhard has published on the construction of care, ideas of dependency, migrant care workers, the intersection of migration, and care regimes and the construction of ageing and older people. He is vice-chair of the ESA Research Network Ageing in Europe and member of the editorial board of the Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: August 1, 2014

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  • Het Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies is het forum voor de wetenschappelijke problematisering van sekse in relatie tot andere vormen van discriminatie en uitsluiting zoals etniciteit, seksualiteit, klasse of leeftijd. Er worden artikelen in gepubliceerd over gendervraagstukken vanuit alle relevante disciplines die een wetenschappelijke bijdrage leveren aan debatten over gender en intersectionaliteit in Nederland en Vlaanderen. Het tijdschrift is een interdisciplinair medium op het kruispunt van maatschappij-, cultuur-, geestes-, gezondheids- en natuurwetenschappen. Het verschijnt vier keer per jaar en biedt wetenschappelijke artikelen en daarnaast ook interviews, boekrecensies, discussiedossiers en opiniërende artikelen in het Nederlands en Engels. Artikelen worden dubbelblind beoordeeld door externe deskundigen.

    The Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies (Journal of Gender Studies) is a Dutch language forum for the scientific problematisation of gender in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, class, and age. The journal aims to contribute to debates about gender and diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders. The journal is an interdisciplinary medium operating at the intersection of society, culture, the humanities, health and science. The editorial staff is open to articles about gender issues from different disciplines, and also accepts English articles. As well as publishing articles, the journal includes essays, columns (short topical and polemical articles), interviews, reviews, summaries of dissertations and conference reports. Articles are subjected to a double blind peer review process.
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