Constructing care: for love or money

Vinca Bigo and Mia Gray

Table of Contents


This paper explores societal, organisational, and individual contradictions relevant to the provision of collective health care. We look closely at the ontology of care, and the various forms it takes in health care systems. The distinctions bring to the fore deep tensions and contradictions in how we value care, reflected in norms, institutions and practices, which though not irresolvable need to be explicitly addressed when striving to meet collective health care needs. We explain how the ethics of care helps us think about the collective organisation of health care, so long as we are not naïve about, and take into account, the tensions and contradictions surrounding care that are discussed in this paper.

JEL : I10, I18, Z13, Z19


  • ethics of care
  • ontology of care
  • idealisation of care


  • Introduction
  • Notions of care
    • Background care
    • Health care systems
    • Tensions and contradictions
  • Idealisation and stigmatisation
  • An ethics of care
  • An ethical turn given capitalist constraints?
  • Concluding remarks