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The Capacity to Care: Gender and Ethical Subjectivity
Hollway, Wendy
Routledge / Softcover / 2007-01-01 / 0415399688
Women's Issues
reg price: $73.50 our price: $ 66.15 (may be subject to change)
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In The Capacity to Care, Wendy Hollway explores a subject that is largely absent from the topical literature on care. Humans are not born with a capacity to care, and this volume explores how this capacity is achieved through the experiences of primary care, gender development and later, parenting.

In this book, the author addresses the assumption that the capacity to care is innate. She argues that key processes in the early development of babies and young children create the capability for individuals to care, with a focus on the role of intersubjective experience and parent-child relations. The Capacity to Care also explores the controversial belief that women are better at caring than men and questions whether this is likely to change with contemporary shifts in parenting and gender relations. Similarly, the sensitive domain of the quality of care and how to consider whether care has broken down are also debated, alongside a consideration of what constitutes a 'good enough' family.

The Capacity to Care provides a unique theorization of the nature of selfhood, drawing on developmental and object relations psychoanalysis, as well as philosophical and feminist literatures. It will be of relevance to social scientists studying gender development, gender relations and the family as well as those interested in the ethics of care debate.

Part of Routledge's Women and Psychology Series, edited by Jane Ussher (University of Western Sydney)


CHAPTER ONE. INTRODUCING THE CAPACITY TO CARE. Approaches to Care. In Search of Subjectivity in the Literature. Meeting Needs, Attentiveness and Compassion. Psycho-social Subjectivity in Care. Outline of the Book. CHAPTER TWO. CARE, ETHICS AND RELATIONAL SUBJECTIVITY. The Model of Self Behind the Ethic of Care. Women's Care as Mothers. Separation. Boys' and Girls' Oedipal Conflict. Reasoning, Thinking, Omnipotence and Care. Conclusions. CHAPTER THREE. INTERSUBJECTIVITY IN SELF DEVELOPMENT. Infants Don't Care. An Early Gesture of Care. Three Modes of Organising Experiences. Intersubjectivity and the Learning of Care. Needing an Adult to Care for the Self to Develop. Beyond the Dyad in Developing the Capacity to Care. Conclusions. CHAPTER FOUR. MATERNAL SUBJECTIVITY AND THE CAPACITY TO CARE. The Uniqueness of Maternal Subjectivity. The Impact of Infantile Demands. The Infant in Adult Subjectivity. Images of the Maternal. Maternal Development. Being a Maternal Subject in One's Own Right. Conclusions. CHAPTER FIVE. THE GENDER OF PARENTING, THE GENDER OF CARE. The Shift to 'Parenting'. A Psycho-social Approach. Developmental Challenges to a Young Boy's Capacity to Care. Beyond the Parent-child Dyad. Different Bodies and Their Significance. Identificatory Love. Fathers' Difference. Conclusions. CHAPTER SIX. DIFFERENCE, ETHICS AND THE CAPACITY TO CARE. Does Difference Have to Mean Othering? Ethics, Self and Relationship. Identification and Difference. Individuality, Individualization and Friendship. Self Care and Other Care. Institutional Care. Distance, Othering and Care. Conclusions. CHAPTER SEVEN. CONCLUSIONS. Self, Morality and Acquiring the Capacity to Care. Families, Good Enough Parenting and Changing Gender Relations. The Capacity to Care and Ethical Subjectivity. Caring Across Distance and Difference. The Capacity to Care and Why it Matters. AFTERWORD. REFERENCES

About the Author:

Wendy Hollway is a Professor in Psychology at the Open University. She has worked in several social science disciplines and has pursued a critical psychology perspective in many areas. She is especially interested in the development of subjectivity and the use of psychoanalysis in qualitative methodology.

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