Constructing a morality of caring: Codes and values in Australian carer discourse

Nursing Ethics 13 (1):5-16 (2006)
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In this analysis I apply a Foucauldian approach to ethics to examine the politically prescribed moral and ethical character required of carers of aged persons at home in Australia and the role of nurses in shaping these behaviours. The work that spousal carers provide, although often founded on love and/or obligation, has been formalized through a variety of policy initiatives and technologies that serve to construct the moral approach they must adopt. This shaping of conduct at the most personal level takes place through the application of codes of behaviour policed largely by nurses. These codes redefine the mode of coexistence between an aged husband and wife and propose a new form of relationship that is derived from and supports policies of the deinstitutionalization of care services for elderly persons. In this way modern carer policy has drawn on knowledge and governance of the self to produce a morality of caring that is both authoritative and scientific



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