The Subject of Care: Feminist Perspectives on Dependency / Edition 392

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All people spend a considerable portion of their lives either as dependents or the caretakers of dependents. The fact of human dependency—a function of youth, severe illness, disability, or frail old age—marks our lives, not only as those who are cared for, but as those who engage in the work of caring. In spite of the time, energy and resources-material and emotional, social and individual-that dependency care requires, these concerns rarely enter into philosophical, legal, and political discussions. In The Subject of Care, feminist scholars consider how acknowledgement of the fact of dependency changes our conceptions of law, political theory, and morality, as well as our very conceptions of self. Contributors develop feminist understandings of dependency, reassessing the place dependency occupies in our lives and in a just social order.

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Editorial Reviews

Interesting and thought-provoking essays, and by collecting them this way Kittay and Feder have helped define and advance one of the most important projects of contemporary feminist theory.
— G.A.C.
Book Review Digest
These are interesting and thought-provoking essays, and by collecting them min this way Kittay and Feder have helped define and advance one of the most important projects of contemporary feminist theory.
— Grace A. Clement
Sonya Michel
With rich, interdisciplinary essays by pioneers in the field as well as pathbreaking newcomers, The Subject of Care takes us through key political and philosophical debates and then out on the other side to envision new meanings for dependency and care. This book is essential reading for all those who perform the work of caring and receive care—in other words, for all of us.
Roger S. Gottlieb
This book is filled with intelligence, analytic precision, and moral vision. Essential reading for philosophers, political theorists, policy makers, and those interested in expanding their understanding of the human condition.
Ethics - G.A.C.
Interesting and thought-provoking essays, and by collecting them this way Kittay and Feder have helped define and advance one of the most important projects of contemporary feminist theory.
Book Review Digest - Grace A. Clement
These are interesting and thought-provoking essays, and by collecting them min this way Kittay and Feder have helped define and advance one of the most important projects of contemporary feminist theory.
Philosophy in Review
While the work is highly recommended for the way that it assists in creatively moving on the debate over an ethics of care, it is also successful in provoking reflection on wider issues.
Social Theory and Practice
This interdisciplinary anthology succeeds compellingly and convincingly at the challenge of arguing for the central role of dependency in understanding human agency, sociopolitical philosophy and policy, and ethical obligations.
APA Newsletter On Feminism and Philosophy
Eva Kittay and Ellen Feder have brought together (and both contributed to) an excellent collection of essays on various aspects of relations of care, focused in particular on relations of dependency. The volume as a whole provides a rich resource for thinking about a number of dimensions of dependency, and relations of care for dependents. This volume is rich with new terminology, fresh concepts and ideas, creative analyses and suggested novel approaches to intractable social problems, not only regarding relations of dependency, but also a number of other issues, including racism, sexism, classism, globalization, and environmental degradation. Although the essays mainly deal only with the United States, the text is nonetheless a valuable resource for feminists, both activists and scholars, both in the United States and elsewhere, as well as a useful text to use all or parts of in graduate seminars relating to feminist theory, sociology, economics, social ethics, and political philosophy.
Contemporary Political Thought
If anything stands out after reading these essays, it is that so many provided new, engaging conceptual and political insights into care. . . . While tackling many issues from a distinctly feminist perspective, these contributors also provide reflections and proposals that are essential reading for any political theorist, philosopher, or activist currently committed to a substantive vision of freedom and a progressive approach to social justice.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742513631
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Series: Feminist Constructions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 392
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Eva Feder Kittay is professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the author, most recently, of Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependence. Ellen K. Feder is assistant professor of philosophy at American University. The pair have also coedited a special issue of Hypatia on the family and feminist theory.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I Contesting the "Independent Man"
1 A Genealogy of Dependency: Tracing a Keyword of the U.S. Welfare State 14
2 Autonomy, Welfare Reform, and Meaningful Work 40
3 Dependency and Choice: The Two Faces of Eve 61
Pt. II Legal and Economic Relations in the Face of Dependency
4 The Right to Care 88
5 Subsidized Lives and the Ideology of Efficiency 115
6 Dependency Work, Women, and the Global Economy 138
Pt. III Just Social Arrangement and Familial Responsibility for Dependency
7 Justice and the Labor of Care 160
8 The Future of Feminist Liberalism 186
9 Masking Dependency: The Political Role of Family Rhetoric 215
Pt. IV Dependency Care in Cases of Specific Vulnerability
10 The Decasualization of Eldercare 246
11 When Caring Is Just and Justice Is Caring: Justice and Mental Retardation 257
12 Poverty, Race, and the Distortion of Dependency: The Case of Kinship Care 277
13 "Doctor's Orders": Parents and Intersexed Children 294
Pt. V Dependency, Subjectivity, and Identity
14 Subjectivity as Responsivity: The Ethical Implications of Dependency 322
15 "Race" and the Labor of Identity 334
16 Dependence of Place, Dependence in Place 348
Index 369
About the Contributors 379
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