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‘Care’: Moral concept or merely an organisational suffix?

Clapton, J.,

Academic Literature


This article is a conceptual-theoretical analysis which explores the characteristics of human services that embrace managerialism. It investigates the moral constructions of personhood in regard to people with intellectual disability (ID) within this service context and the implications of how care is practised are considered.

An immoral-amoral binary of personhood within an underpinning neo-liberal context is identified and analysed. Further analysis reveals a more insidious independent–dependent binary for people with an ID linked to a dominating Ethic of Normalcy. This latter binary suggests that care seemingly becomes neither ethically relevant nor legitimate for people with ID in managerialist service contexts.

It concludes that ethical transformation in regard to care is needed for contemporary human services practice for people with ID. A deep understanding of care as a moral concept needs to be at the core of practice, rather than merely attached in an organisational name.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Journal of Intellectual Disability Research

Location : International

Domain/s: Health and wellbeing

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