Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 473–484 | Cite as

Commentary: On the Transformation of the Moral Economy of Care

  • Kim Hopper


The documentation amassed in these provisionalassessments of the changing terms andconditions of psychiatric work amounts to areconfiguring of the moral economy of care –those root value-laden assumptions about whatconstitutes proper conduct in a service ortreatment context. Such a transformationappears to have been in the works for sometime, but the acuity with which it afflicts theconsciousness of present-day actors suggeststhat a threshold has been crossed. The loss of``slippage'' in everyday clinical work, limitedrecourse of those who would resist the trend,deep ``persuasive'' impact on non-believers ofbeing forced to ``go through the motions,'' allargue that the ethos of psychiatric work hasbeen thoroughly infiltrated by efficiency, withcosts yet to be reckoned. Anthropology mayhave been slow to take cognizance of suchtrends, but its improvisational methods andflexible tools should be of use in mapping suchcosts, direct and indirect, and anycountervailing benefits.


Improvisational Method Clinical Work Proper Conduct Moral Economy Work Amount 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Hopper
    • 1
  1. 1.Nathan Kline InstituteOrangeburgUSA

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