Oslo, Norway

Ethics and Politics of Care

online course
when 5 July 2021 - 9 July 2021
language English
duration 1 week
credits 8 EC
fee NOK 4000

This course will examine the ethics and politics of care. We will not begin with the presumption that care is a self-evident good. Nor is our goal to posit a definitive theory of care. Rather, we will treat care as we and our informants often do in our everyday lives: as a problematic concerning the distribution of moral responsibility across social, cultural, political and economic boundaries. We will thus use the concept as a springboard into the ethnographic exploration of political and ethical life and of different governing regimes of life itself.

We will consider ethnographic accounts of humanitarianism, care work, biopolitics, repair work, extinction, social reproduction, and other topics, exploring who is obliged to care for whom, with what effects, and in accordance with what moral/ethical logics, regimes of personhood, and modes of politicization. Along the way we will also consider care in relation to other core concepts such as harm, giving, value, exchange, coercion, vulnerability, hospitality, sovereignty, responsibility, dependency and interdependency. Ultimately, I am interested in cultivating ethnographic sensibilities around the question, How is care’s morality established in practice and how is moral responsibility assigned and distributed in different care regimes. I would like us to speculate as well about why care has surfaced recently as both an object of anthropological inquiry and a new moral and political imperative.

Course leader

Professor Jeff Maskovsky, The City University of New York, USA

Target group

PhD students, graduate or postgraduate student or professional from any social science field of study or related disciplines.

Course aim

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

Formulate PhD-level research questions about care and explain how the concept has been used to open up specific lines of anthropological inquiry.
Discuss and critically engage the care concept as it is used in ethnographic theory and writing.
Develop original ideas about the possibilities and limits of care as a concept.
Write effectively about the care concept and related themes.

Credits info

8 EC
A completed course including submission of an approved paper is awarded 8 ECTS.

Fee info

NOK 4000: Covering of expenses towards administration and honorarium for lecturers.


Oslo Summer School for Social Sciences does not have any grants or scholarships. All costs in relation to participation in our courses must be paid by participants themselves, or by their institution.