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Children and the Feminist Ethic of Care.

By Thomas D. Cockburn


NoThis article looks at the recent contributions made by feminists who advocate a distinctive `ethic of care¿ to replace the conventional `ethic of rights¿. The article explores ways in which the ethic of care could be utilized and applied to the children¿s rights context. After looking at the important feminist criticisms of conventional rights-based approaches, it is argued that there needs to be some caution applied to the feminist ethic of care, if it is to be successfully applied to the context of children. These cautions are that it is important to recognize the contested nature of care and not to valorize the perspectives of carers over those being cared for. Second, the feminist ethic of care might lead to a `needs-based¿ discourse, an approach that is unsatisfactory in its implications for children¿s rights. Finally, conceptions of justice and equality must not be dropped from political arguments. Rather, their limitations must be acknowledged and then used strategically and partially. However, despite these cautions, the feminist ethic of care remains a constructive approach to the children¿s rights context as it emphasizes responsibilities and relationships, the concrete contexts of caring interdependencies, and allows children to be active social players with a voice rather than passive recipients of care and rights. It is hoped that this article might serve as both a corrective and conceptual enrichment of the feminist ethic of care

Topics: Children, Ethic of care, Feminism, Justice, Rights
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0907568205049893
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars
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