Social services in Cape Town: An analysis using the political ethics of care

Bozalek V. ; Henderson N. ; Lambert W. ; Collins K. ; Green S. (2007)


This article uses the political ethics of care as a moral framework to examine the findings of a joint research project involving social work students at three higher education institutions in the Western Cape Province. The students interviewed social service providers at 51 service points in Cape Town. This paper offers some preliminary observations with regard to these social service settings in Cape Town, resulting from this exploratory research project on welfare service provision. The provision of services are analysed from Tronto's (1993) ethic of care framework incorporating attentiveness, responsibility and competence. This study highlights the fact that, while service providers are attentive to service users' needs and construct these needs as structural, the services they deliver are not directly addressing these needs. It is also apparent that fiscal constraints premised on neoliberal principles have negatively affected the responsibility and competence within care as a social and moral practice in service delivery.

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