Sammendrag'Care' (or 'caring') is one of the contested concepts in the study of gender and social politics. As a concept and activity, care covers a number of different relations, actors, and institutional settings, and crosses conventional boundaries. It can pertain to family analysis, but also to labour market and welfare state analysis, to concepts and practices of work and citizenship, to issues of social inclusion and exclusion, and so forth.
The article examines some of the crucial passages in the development of 'care thinking', viewing them not only as steps in a theoret-ical process, but also as the outcome of shifts in contexts. Drawing mainly upon the Western European sociological and social policy discourses, and particularly on feminist literature, the following discusses care as a public and private responsibility, as relationships of labour, love and power, as personal responsibilities and social rights, and returns once more to considering care as a feminine dilemma.
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