Academic Medical Centre (AMC) Amsterdam, Department of General practice, section of medical ethics, and the University of Amsterdam, Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
In my research I develop an empirical ethics of care practices. This implies, so I would argue, an epistemological radicalization of the notion of relationality, by using this concept as a tool for the analysis of care practices. This means that entities get their shape in their interactions with other entities (people, words, technologies), and that care practices are inherently normative. In the establishment of relations, all the actors try to do this in a good way.
I have been a ethnographer of care practices all my working career. Care practices are always aimed at ‘doing good’, and the very different ways in which this good is framed in and outside care practices has intrigued me ever since.
The empirical ethics of care attempts to describe the normativity that is constituted in care practices by the establishment and negotiation of relations between the entities in these practices, and reflects on the results of this analysis.
The understanding of people, things and concepts as the result of their relations to each other.
Nurses and devices.
The scholars assembled in the book ‘Care in practice. On tinkering in clinic, homes and farms’ Bielefeld: transcript Verlag are good examples of inspiring workers in this area.
Pols, J. (2012) Care at a distance. On the closeness of technology. Amsterdam University press.
Pols, J. (2004) Good care. Enacting a complex ideal in long term psychiatry
The dialogue between care workers and ethicists is important and delicate, but pivotal to an ethics of care that is able to reach actual care practices. Also: See 9.