Care Ethics, Democratic Citizenship and the State

Understanding the Social Care crisis in England through Older People’s Lived Experiences (available open access – click to download as a pdf)

Most knowledge about care is produced without the inclusion of care-receivers and without regard to their lived experiences of care. This chapter draws empirical research that was co-produced with older people about lived experiences of care within the English social care system. It argues for a different understanding of care based on lived experiences. This produces knowledge that directly challenges the assumptions underpinning the consumer choice rationale of the marketisation of care. This chapter argues that building knowledge based on the lived experiences of care with those who have direct experience is necessary for ‘caring democracy’.


The chapter is part of a new international collection on care ethics that Lizzie Ward co-edited with Petr Urban from the Czech Academy of Science. Care Ethics, Democratic Citizenship and the State edited by Petr Urban and Lizzie Ward. 2020 Palgrave Macmillan.


More information about the book:

Since its first articulation in the 1980s care ethics has increasingly become an influential current of contemporary moral thought. Over the last two and a half decade many care scholars challenged the traditional boundary between ethics and politics and made a case for placing care at the centre of political life. This has led, over the years since, to a flourishing of work exploring the implications of care theory for a variety of political issues, including welfare policy, public health care, education, criminal justice, national security, and international relations.

Care Ethics, Democratic Citizenship and the State aims to contribute to these developments through new theoretical insights and new applications of care ethics in different geographical locations and contexts. It offers a distinctive contribution to existing work by showing how care ethics is leaving the location of its origins and travelling geographically, theoretically and across disciplines. This is illustrated in the collection in a number of ways. The book charts the intellectual journey by bringing care ethics into dialogue with other political theories and philosophies concerning democracy, citizenship and the state. The journey, in a more literal sense, can be seen in contributions which illustrate how care ethics is being used and applied in new geographic locations, such as India, Japan and Central and Eastern Europe. The book thus invites reflection on how to think about the democratic caring state within different contexts globally. The collection consequently brings together authors from Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, Sweden, UK, and the US working across the disciplinary fields of ethics, political science, philosophy, and social policy.

The book also speaks to current day problems, such as the rise in populism and the far right to the loss of trust in political systems. It demonstrates the continuing relevance of care ethics, from the early critique of gender inequalities in its original formulation of the 1980s, to the present and its capacity to address and critique the political issues of today. It offers not only new theoretical developments in political theory of care but also practical motivations to practitioners and civic society. We hope that this combination of both theoretical insight and applied case studies offer a comprehensive volume for students as well as challenging new perspectives to those more familiar with care ethics.

Understanding the Social Care crisis in England through Older People’s Lived Experiences