Democratic Caring: Building Relations of Freedom, Equality and Emancipation
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Considering that my own work has mostly involved the cultivation of democratic citizenship education in (South) Africa, any notion of care linked to the idea of democracy invariably gripped my attention. It is in this context, that I encountered Joan Tronto’s work as relevant to my scholarship. Joan Tronto (2013: 140, 146), a political scientist and caring ethicist, endorses the views that care is relational, and ‘to become more caring is to become more attentive and more capable of making judgements about responsibility’. At face value, her understanding of care does not seem different from those articulated by Gilligan, Noddings, Freire, Hamington and Sevenhuijsen, as articulated in the previous chapters. However, in her book, entitled, Caring democracy, Tronto (2013) makes three pertinent moves that suggest that caring involves more than just relationality, attentiveness and responsibility. In this chapter, I consider what she means by democratic caring, and I show how she is perhaps too presumptuous in dismissing dyadic care, particularly in relation to a teacher and student. In the main, for Tronto (2013), democratic caring ought to be seen as caring with others, which is different from caring about and caring for others – a view that, as I show, resonates with my own understanding of democratic pedagogical encounters.
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