The Ethics of Care and the Conceptualization of Unpaid Care Work

Part of the Gender, Development and Social Change book series (GDSC)


This chapter discusses two themes: care work and the ethics of care. In addition, it justifies the research methodology employed. The first part discusses care and its related concepts (caregiving, caring, caregiver, formal and informal care, and care burden, etc.) in its entirety. It then goes further to specify the type of care described in this book. The second part takes a closer look at existing literature on the ethic of care with an emphasis on the feminist ethics of care. It also justifies the employment of feminist ethics of care in the theoretical framework of this study. The third part presents the methodologies employed to collect the primary data in Darfur. The research that informs this case study is based on mixed-methods.


Care work Feminist ethics of care Ubuntu The research methodologies 


  1. Abowitz, D.A., and T.M. Toole. 2010. Mixed-Method Research: Fundamental Issues of Design, Validity, and Reliability in Construction Research. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 136 (1): 108–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bakker, I. 2007. Social Reproduction and the Constitution of a Gendered Political Economy. New Political Economy 12 (4): 541–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes, M. 2012. Care in Everyday Life: An Ethic of Care in Practice. Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell, L.A. 2009. The Story of the Storytelling Project: An Arts-Based Race and Social Justice Curriculum. Storytelling, Self, Society 5 (2): 107–118.Google Scholar
  5. Blazek, M., F.M. Smith, M. Lemešová, and P. Hricová. 2015. Ethics of Care Across Professional and Everyday Positionalities: The (Un)expected Impacts of Participatory Video with Young Female Carers in Slovakia. Geoforum 61: 45–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bondi, L. 2008. On the Relational Dynamics of Caring: A Psychotherapeutic Approach to Emotional and Power Dimensions of Women’s Care Work. Gender, Place & Culture 15 (3): 249–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Braun, V., and V. Clarke. 2006. Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3 (2): 77–101. ISSN 1478-0887. Scholar
  8. Budlender, D. 2010. Time Use Studies and Unpaid Care Work, 1st ed. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bryman, A. 2001. Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chisale, S.S. 2018. Ubuntu as Care: Deconstructing the Gendered Ubuntu. Verbum et Ecclesia 39 (1): 1–8. Published Online 14 May 2018.
  11. Clough, B. 2015. Exploring the Potential of Relational Approaches to Mental Capacity Law. PhD Thesis, University of Manchester, Faculty of Humanities, Manchester.Google Scholar
  12. Diameta, E., I. Adandom, S.U. Jumbo, H.C. Nwankwo, P.C. Obi, and M.E. Kalu. 2018. The Burden Experience of Formal and Informal Caregivers of Older Adults with Hip Fracture in Nigeria. Sage Open Nursing 4: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eltigani, T.E. 1995. War and Drought in the Sudan: Essay on Population Displacement. Gainesville: University Press Florida.Google Scholar
  14. Engle, P.L., P. Menon, and L. Haddad. 1999. Care and Nutrition: Concepts and Measurement. World Development 27 (8): 1309–1337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Esquivel, V. 2014. What Is a Transformative Approach to Care, and Why Do We Need It? Gender & Development 22 (3): 423–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eyben, R. 2012. The Hegemony Cracked: The Power Guide to Getting Care onto the Development Agenda. Working Paper, 411, 1–29, Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Brighton.Google Scholar
  17. Fälth, A., and M. Blackden. 2009. Unpaid Care Work, Gender Equality and Poverty Reduction Policy Brief. Issue 1, UNDP, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Ferrant, G., L.M. Pesando, and K. Nowacka. 2014. Unpaid Care Work: The Missing Link in the Analysis of Gender Gaps in Labor Outcomes. Issue Paper, OECD Development Center.Google Scholar
  19. Floriano, L.A., R.C. Azevedo, A.A. Reiners, and M.R. Sudré‎. 2012. Care Performed by Family Caregivers to Dependent Elderly, at Home, Within the Context of the Family Health Strategy. Texto Contexto Enferm 21 (3): 543–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Folbre, N. 2006. Measuring Care: Gender, Empowerment, and the Care Economy. Journal of Human Development 7 (2): 183–199. Published Online 22 January 2007. Scholar
  21. Friedman, M. 2009. Review of Daniel Engster, The Heart of Justice: Care Ethics and Political Theory. The Philosophical Review 118 (2): 256–258. Scholar
  22. Gasper, D., and T. Truong. 2008. Development Ethics Through the Lenses of Caring, Gender, and Human Security. Working Paper, No. 459, Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  23. Gilligan, C. 1982. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge, MA and Boston: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gorard, S., and C. Taylor. 2004. Combining Methods in Educational Research. Maidenhead: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Green, B. 2012. Applying Feminist Ethics of Care to Nursing Practice. Journal of Nursing and Care 1 (3): 1–4. Published Online January 2012.
  26. Gyekye, K. 2010. African Ethics. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E.N. Zalta. Stanford: The Metaphysics Research Lab.Google Scholar
  27. Hamington, M. 2010. Care Ethics, John Dewey’s “Dramatic Rehearsal,” and Moral Education. In Philosophy of Education Yearbook, 121–128.
  28. Held, V. 2006. The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hermanns, M., and B. Mastel-Smith. 2012. Caregiving: A Qualitative Concept Analysis. The Qualitative Report 17 (38): 1–18.Google Scholar
  30. Hobbs, M.H., and C. Rice. 2018. Gender and Women’s Studies: Critical Terrain, 2nd ed. Canada: Women’s Press.Google Scholar
  31. Idang, G.E. 2015. African Culture and Values. Phronimon 16 (2): 97–111. Online Version ISSN 1561-4018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kanbur, R. 2001. Qualitative and Quantitative Poverty Appraisal: The State of Play and Some Questions. Paper Presented at Qualitative and Quantitative Poverty Appraisal: Complementaries, Tensions and the Way Forward Workshop Held at Qualitative and Quantitative Poverty Appraisal, Cornell University, 15–16 March 2001.Google Scholar
  33. Kingston, A.K. 2007. Mothering Special Needs: A Different Maternal Journey, 1st ed. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley.Google Scholar
  34. Kleinman, A. 2009. Caregiving: The Odyssey of Becoming More Human. The Lancet 373 (9660): 292–293. Published Online 24 January 2009. Scholar
  35. Kröger, T. 2009. Care Research and Disability Studies: Nothing in Common? Critical Social Policy 29 (3): 398–420. Published Online July 2009. Scholar
  36. Lawson, V. 2007. Geographies of Care and Responsibility. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 97 (1): 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Liamputtong, P. 2011. Focus Group Methodology Principle and Practice, 1st ed. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Liera, A., and C. Saraceno. 2002. Care: Actors, Relationships and Context. In Contested Concepts in Gender and Social Politics, ed. B. Hobson, J. Lewis, and B. Siim. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  39. Lloyd, L. 2006. A Caring Profession? The Ethics of Care and Social Work with Older People. British Journal of Social Work 36: 1171–1185. Published Online November 2005. Scholar
  40. Lutz, D.W. 2009. African Ubuntu Philosophy and Global Management. Journal of Business Ethics 84 (Supplement 3: Global and Contextual Values for Business in a Changing World): 313–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Maestre, M., and J. Thorpe. 2016. Understanding Unpaid Care Work to Empower Women in Market Systems Approaches. London: The BEAM Exchange.Google Scholar
  42. Maluleke, M.J. 2012. Culture, Tradition, Custom, Law and Gender Equality. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 15 (1): 1–22. Published Online December 2011.
  43. Mangena, F. 2009. The Search for an African Feminist Ethic: A Zimbabwean Perspective. Journal of International Women’s Studies 11 (2): 18–30.Google Scholar
  44. Mapaure, C. 2011. Reinvigorating African Values for SADC: The Relevance of Traditional African Philosophy of Law in a Globalizing World of Competing Perspectives. SADC Law Journal 7: 149–173. ISSN 2222-288X (Online).Google Scholar
  45. Marks, N.F., J.D. Lambert, and H. Choi. 2002. Transitions to Caregiving, Gender, and Psychological Well-Being: A Prospective U.S. National Study. Journal of Marriage and Family 64 (3): 657–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Martinsen, E.H. 2011. Care for Nurses Only? Medicine and the Perceiving Eye. Health Care Analysis 19 (1): 15–27. Published Online 7 December 2010. Scholar
  47. McDonald, D.A. 2010. Ubuntu Bashing: The Marketisation of ‘African Values’ in South Africa. Review of African Political Economy 37 (124): 139–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Metz, T., and J.B.R. Gaie. 2010. The African Ethic of Ubuntu/Botho: Implications for Research on Morality. Journal of Moral Education 39 (3): 273–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Noddings, N. 2002. Starting at Home: Caring and Social Policy, 1st ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  50. Oginni, S.O., M.P. Opoku, and B.A. Alupo. 2018. Terrorism in the Lake Chad Region: Integration of Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. Journal of Borderlands Studies 33 (1): 315–316.Google Scholar
  51. O’Neill, G., and M.M. Ross. 1991. Burden of Care: An Important Concept for Nurses. Health Care for Women International 12 (1): 11–21.Google Scholar
  52. Orozco, A.P., and A.A. Leiras. 2017. Why We Care About Care, An Essay Collection on Care Economy. Booklet, UN Women Training Centre.Google Scholar
  53. Orozco, A.P., and M.G. Dominguez. 2014. Reading Paper Series on Care Economy: Chapter 1: Care: The Basic Concepts. UN-Women Training Centre.Google Scholar
  54. Peterson, V.S. 2002. Rewriting (Global) Political Economy as Reproductive, Productive, and Virtual (Foucauldian) Economies. International Feminist Journal of Politics 4 (1): 1–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Power, A. 2013. Care in Everyday Life: An Ethic of Care in Practice. Disability & Society 28 (8): 1176–1178. Published Online December 2013. Scholar
  56. Rabiee, F. 2004. Focus-Group Interview and Data Analysis. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 63 (4): 655–660. Published Online December 2004. Scholar
  57. Razavi, S., and S. Silke. 2012. Introduction: Care Workers in the Global Economy: Worlds Apart? In Global Variations in the Political and Social Economy of Care. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Reddy, V., S. Meyer, T. Shefer, and T. Meyiwa. 2014. Towards a Critical Theory of Care. In Care in Context: Transnational Gender Perspectives, ed. V. Reddy, S. Meyer, T. Shefer, and T. Meyiwa, 1–27. Cape Town: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
  59. Robinson, F. 2011. The Ethics of Care: A Feminist Approach to Human Security. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Rummery, K., and M. Fine. 2012. Care: A Critical Review of Theory, Policy and Practice. Social Policy & Administration 46 (3): 321–343. Published Online June 2012. Scholar
  61. Sander-Staudt, M. 2006. The Unhappy Marriage of Care Ethics and Virtue Ethics. Hypatia 21 (4): 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schofield, H., S. Bloch, H. Herrman, B. Murphy, J. Nankervis, and B. Singh (eds.). 1998. Family Caregivers: Disability, Illness and Ageing. St Leonards, NSW: Allen and Unwin in Association with VicHealth, the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.Google Scholar
  63. Sevenhuijsen, S., V. Bozalek, A. Gouws, and M. Minnar-McDonald. 2003. South African Social Welfare Policy: An Analysis Using the Ethic of Care. Critical Social Policy 23 (3): 299–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Stensöta, H.O. 2011. A Public Ethics of Care for Public Administration and Implementation. A Paper Presented at the Northwestern Political Science Conference, in San Antonio, Texas, April 20–22.Google Scholar
  65. Stuart, S. 2014. Situation of Unpaid Work and Gender in the Caribbean: The Measurement of Unpaid Work Through Time—Use Studies. United Nations (ECLAC). Studies and Perspectives Series No. 34, The Caribbean.Google Scholar
  66. Swinkels, J., T. van Tilburg, E. Verbakel, and M.B. van Groenou. 2017. Explaining the Gender Gap in the Caregiving Burden of Partner Caregivers. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 74 (2): 309–317.Google Scholar
  67. Tronto, J.T. 1993. Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  68. Tronto, J.T. 2013. Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality and Justice. New York and London: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Van Binsbergen, W.M.J. 2001. Ubuntu and the Globalization of Southern African Thought and Society. Quest: An African Journal of Philosophy 15 (1/2): 53–89.Google Scholar
  70. Van der Velde, M., P. Jansen, and N. Anderson. 2004. Guide to Management Research Methods. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  71. Waghid, Y., and P. Smeyers. 2012. Reconsidering Ubuntu: On the Educational Potential of a Particular Ethic of Care. Educational Philosophy and Theory 44 (s2): 6–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. White, H. 2002. Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches in Poverty Analysis. World Development 30 (3): 511–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Whyte, K.O., and C. Cuomo. 2016, April. Ethics of Caring in Environmental Ethics: Indigenous and Feminist Philosophies. In The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Ethics, edited by Stephen M. Gardiner and Allen Thompson.
  74. Wong, W.I., V. Pasterski, P.C. Hindmarsh, M.E. Geffner, and M. Hines. 2012. Are There Parental Socialization Effects on the Sex-Typed Behavior of Individuals with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia? Archives of Sexual Behavior 42: 381–391. Published Online 21 November 2011. Scholar
  75. Yin, R.K. 2003. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 3rd Edition, Applied Social Research Methods Series, Vol. 5. Thousand Oaks, London, and New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KhartoumKhartoumSudan

Personalised recommendations