The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Carein Context

Care in Context is a thought-provoking book that looks at gender inequalities in the context of care. Drawing in part from unique transnational perspectives and gripping interviews, this book focuses on key questions that intellectuals, policy makers and all of us who care and need care have to ask, such as: What is good care? Who should be involved in providing it? And how should care be arranged and organized so that that the interests of both care givers and care recipients are equally provided for?
Care is indispensable to human flourishing. Without it we cannot survive. It is vital to the development of all individuals and to that of the broader society. Increasing economic and health problems have also contributed to mounting care crises in different parts of the world. With this view, the book offers fresh and nuanced perspectives and is a definite must read for all those affected by issues of care.


With its focus on care in Switzerland and South Africa, this book might appear to put an unusual pair side by side. It is refreshing and thought-provoking to have 'the north' and 'the south' compared in this way, and disturbing to see what this demonstrates. Differences aside, both countries are deeply conservative and patriarchal in the realm of family policies; there are serious gaps between social policies and practices; care policies and practices reproduce gender inequalities; the vast majority of carers, in families, in formal and informal economies, and in the volunteer sector, are women; and elderly people are not only care receivers, they also play a significant role in providing care to others. These well-referenced essays from a variety of disciplines constitute a rich resource for the study of care. They set an agenda for the next round of public debate and scholarship on care, both theoretical an empirical.

FRANCIE LUND, School of Built Environment and Development Studies,
University of KwaZulu-Natal

Care in Context brings together two of the most important themes and challenges of contemporary times: the care challenge, of how to shift the world away from uncaring and 'carelessness' towards care and caring, and the transnational challenge, of how to work between and across nations and locations. Care in Context is an important book, not only in terms of these urgent issues, but moreover as a model for further collaborations between 'the global North' and 'the global South'. I recommend it very warmly indeed. It is above all a contribution to peace and equality.

JEFF HEARN, rebro University, Sweden; Hanken School of Economics, Finland;
University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom

This compelling collection demystifies the meanings of care and puts the spotlight on its gendered dimensions in two different African and European contexts. The care domain is a critical axis of power, globally, that often misrecognizes women and makes their contributions to society invisible. Yet recognition of the care work performed by many women and some men, whether paid or unpaid, is vital to general wellbeing in the increasingly strained care and welfare regimes worldwide. Further building on the ground-breaking UNRISD study on care and gender, this volume carefully considers theory, models, policies and practices. Care in Context makes an important contribution to the knowledge gateway. It provides thoughtful, fresh and nuanced perspectives that offer a smart engagement with material issues across the South African and Swiss contexts and reanimates some of the emancipatory motives that inspire the ethics of care.

RELEBOHILE MOLETSANE, Professor & John Langalibalele Dube Chair in Rural Education,
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Open Access

Product information

Format : 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 384
ISBN 13 : 978-0-7969-2419-3
Publish Year : June 2014
Rights : World Rights

Figures and tables

Abbreviations and acronyms


Foreword by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Preface by Joan Tronto

  1. Towards a critical theory of care
    Vasu Reddy, Stephan Meyer, Tamara Shefer, Thenjiwe Meyiwa

Part 1: Theories and concepts of care
Revisiting the UNRISD research on the political and social economy of care:
Implications for future research and policy
Shahra Razavi

Integrating difference and care into social justice: Towards a normative
framework for care, welfare and social cohesion

Vivienne Bozalek

Care policy as government of life: Three models illustrated with Swiss examples

Olivier Giraud and Barbara Lucas

Care and social cohesion in South Africa: Political engineering versus dealing
with social discordance

Mpilo Pearl Sithole

Feminist ethics of care through a Southern lens

Amanda Gouws and Mikki van Zyl

Part 2: Policy imperatives and care
Parental incapacity and institutional non-responsiveness: The care framework
in prenatal and early life services in South Africa

Mokhanto Makoae

The intersection of gendered subjectivities and child welfare discourses: An
examination of the developmental child welfare model and the child protection

Jeanette Schmid

The welfare mix, care and equality: Switzerland in comparative perspective

Michelle Beyeler

Private affairs: The welfare state, gender relations, and the Swiss road to

Peter Streckeisen

Are men's healthcare needs important?: A critical analysis of South African
health policy

Grace Khunou

Part 3: Practices and models of care
Developing a model for analysis of home-based care activities using South
African data

Nina Hunter

Gender and care in the non-profit sector in South Africa: Implications for
welfare policy
Leila Patel

To care and to be cared for: The role of elderly people in the Swiss care regime
Brigitte Schnegg, Sabin Bieri and Andrea Kofler

Faceless bureaucracy?: The challenges of gender-based violence and practices of
care in higher education

Anthony Collins

Part 4: Narratives of care
Narratives of gender and practices of care among young men and women in
contemporary South Africa

Tamara Shefer

'I am a male, although I am a little bit soft': Men, gender, and care work in
South Africa

Robert Morrell and Rachel Jewkes

Fragile families' experiences of caring for HIV-positive children: Selected cases
from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal

Thenjiwe Meyiwa

Caregiving in the era of HIV and AIDS: Experiences of a South African HIVpositive

Thelmah Xavela Maluleke

Early motherhood, education and childcare: Experiences of social and institutional
support among young mothers at school in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal

Nomvuyo Nkani

Care in context: Prospective perspectives for research, policy development and
public deliberation

Stephan Meyer, Vasu Reddy, Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Tamara Shefer



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