If care matters, how we talk about care matters—and we should care about how such talk takes place. Dialogue about institutional and informal practices of care is widely recognized as an important part of shaping such practices and holding them to account. But what kinds of dialogue and what kind of work should they do? This article considers the relationship between theoretical accounts of deliberation (especially in recent literature on deliberative democracy) and ways care is conceived and provided. I argue that models of deliberation have tended to be couched in overly rationalistic and idealized terms, making it hard to relate them to the messy and compromised circumstances of real-life deliberation about what matters. These problems are echoed when we find rigid distinctions between ‘care’ and ‘justice’. I argue that both dichotomies (between care and justice and between reasonbased and other forms of contributions to deliberation) are inherently problematic and unhelpful to the cause of thinking through better ways of realizing care relations. A brief case study of ethics workshops involving academics, social care practitioners, caregivers and care receivers is used to explore the practical dynamics of deliberation about care and consider how close we might come to achieving genuine parity between the participants in such settings.
- Ethics of care