Troubling Care: Critical Perspectives on Research and Practices

Troubling Care

Edited by Pat Armstrong and Susan Braedley

 “What is happening to care in Canada is troubling. At the broadest level, we are moving from caring and sharing as widely held public ideals to greedy and mean, not only in practice, but increasingly as policy goals.”

With this provocative introduction, and using long-term residential care as a case study, this book asks how we can plan, organize, distribute and offer care in Canada in ways that treat those who need it and those who provide it with dignity and respect. Through fourteen   contributions from an interdisciplinary team of researchers, the book argues that researchers, policy makers and health care providers must ”trouble” care, disrupting our preconceptions  and critically examining the often taken-for-granted categories through which we assess and evaluate care.

Readers are invited to think through care theories, caring work, care practices and care policy, in order to reimagine care as a necessary social good in which we all have a stake. Based upon research-in-progress, these health researchers employ a feminist political economy lens to reveal some of the “real” costs and benefits of care. Contributions range widely, from physician Joel Lexchin argument for an evidence-informed approach to anti-psychotic drug use to sociologist Hugh Armstrong analysis of the political implications involved in health statistics to cultural studies researcher Sally Chivers’ discussion of creativity as a means to re-value those suffering with dementia.


1. Gender matters when we talk about care. Contributions show the ways gender influences what counts as skill in care work, occupational health and safety for care workers,  and policies affecting care.

2. Care is a dynamic and changing field in a rapidly changing world. Chapters on new technologies and innovations in care, the long-term care labour force and  changing resident    population in residential facilities demonstrate that care is a social relation that affects - and is affected by - political, economic and social change.

3. Values matter when we talk about care.  Implicit throughout, but explicit in chapters on care as a concept, on the ethos of care and on the politics of care, these authors argue that  care must be valued  as a necessary and central public good in any democratic and equitable society. 

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Health Canadacihr logo1This initiative has been generously funded by grants from Health Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the funders.