Sub-theme 37: Futures and Ethics of Care: Reorganizing Work, Labour, and Life -> HYBRID!

D. Derya Özdemir Kaya
University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Anne Antoni
Grenoble Ecole de Management, France
Marianna Fotaki
Warwick Business School, United Kingdom

Call for Papers

We are embedded in care relationships from the cradle to the grave, and we depend on them for our survival (Tronto, 1995: 142). Beyond meeting our basic needs, care enables us to collectively realize our potentials and flourish throughout our lives (De la Bellacasa, 2017). It provides ‘a materially secure and meaningful life premised on emotional wellbeing, physical health, fulfilling social relationships and maintenance of the ecological environment’ (Dowling, 2021: 6).
In feminist theory, a care lens does not so much advocate for ethics as ‘a system of principles, but a mode of responsiveness’ (Cole and Coultrap-McQuin, 1992: 40). Care is relational, emphasizing individual’s interdependence, and ‘escapes the model of the aggregate of free and equal individuals agreeing to the terms of a social contract’ (Held, 2006: 81). Thus, it contrasts epistemological assumptions of individualism and competition dominating the business world and could offer an alternative for the significant shifts required for building a more sustainable and equitable future (Fotaki et al., 2019). For all these reasons, feminist scholars advocate for centering ethics of care in all our organizational and social relations so we can imagine and organize a good life (Fotaki, 2017: 187).
Yet, this imagining and organizing must happen in the context of an ever-deepening crisis of care which refers to growing levels of unmet care needs (Dowling, 2021: 6). In recent decades in the Global North, marketization and financialization dismantled care infrastructures limiting access to health and social care (see Fotaki, 2011; Horton, 2021). Inequalities in the distribution of global care chains cause women in developing countries to leave their own families to care for the children of well-off families in faraway places (Hochschild, 2000). There has also been a race to the bottom in pay and conditions, adding to care’s historical invisibility, undervaluing, and poor remuneration (Aulenbacher et al., 2018; Williams, 2018). The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the inadequacy of the underfunded care systems, bringing providers close to collapse by augmenting their mental and physical toll.
Upon this legacy, we face the challenge of reimagining the world and our place in it as organizational scholars in the wake of the pandemic. Such a legacy is a call for action and an opportunity to invent a new world that is infused with care, as an intrinsically political way of rethinking organizations and organizing in society. Care ‘includes everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair our “world” so that we can live in it as well as possible’ (Fisher and Tronto 1990: 40 in Tronto, 1995: 142). We believe that thinking these issues through the prism of an ethics of care could be disruptive, heuristic, and fruitful. Enmeshing us in a complex web of socio-material relations within which we develop an ethical orientation towards those who surround us, care also ‘enhances our ability to reimagine and participate more fully in democratic processes’ (Chatzidakis et al., 2020: 28). This sub-theme, therefore, focuses on redefining ‘the future of care’ and repositioning the value of care at work and caring professions in society from an economic, political, and ethical viewpoint.
We welcome both conceptual and empirical work and invite contributions on the listed topics, which are indicative rather than exhaustive:

  • How to organize a good life around a feminist ethics of care.

  • How to put care front and center in organizations, politics, and economy.

  • How to re-value care work (e.g., improve recognition, remuneration and other forms of rewards, including accounting for the reproductive and unpaid care)?

  • How to provide care inclusively and equitably within our societies and globally by for instance, rethinking who provides and who benefits from care in the Global North/South?

  • How to address gaps in care provision and put care services on a sustainable footing.

  • How to provide alternatives to institutional care including through co-production of care, disability activism, transmigration and (gendered) networks of care.

  • How to (re-)build formal and informal care infrastructures.

  • How recent technological trends such as digitalization and automation impact the quality, reach, financing, and organization of care services.

  • How digitalization and automation (may) reshape paid and unpaid care labor, including its gendering, wages and working conditions.



  • Aulenbacher, B., Lutz, H., & Riegraf, B. (2018): “Introduction: Towards a global sociology of care and care work.” Current Sociology, 66 (4), 495–502.
  • Chatzidakis, A., Hakim, J., Litter, J., Rottenberg, C., & Segal, L. (2020): The Care Manifesto. London: Verso.
  • Cole, E.B., & Coultrap-McQuin, S.M. (1992): Explorations in Feminist Ethics: Theory and Practice. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Datta, K., McIlwaine, C., Evans, Y., Herbert, J., May, J., & Wills, J.A. (2010): “Migrant Ethic of Care? Negotiating Care and Caring among Migrant Workers in London’s Low-Pay Economy.” Feminist Review, 94 (1), 93–116.
  • De la Bellacasa, P.M. (2018): Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in more than Human Worlds. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.
  • Dowling, E. (2021): The Care Crisis: What Caused It and How Can We End It? London: Verso.
  • Fisher, B., & Tronto, J. (1990): “Toward a Feminist Theory of Caring.” In E. Abel & M. Nelson (eds.): Circles of Care. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 36–54.
  • Fotaki, M. (2011): “Towards developing new partnerships in public services: Users as consumers, citizens and/or co-producers driving improvements in health and social care in the UK and Sweden.” Public Administration, 89 (3), 933–955.
  • Fotaki, M. (2017): “Relational ties of love – A psychosocial proposal for ethics of compassionate care in health and public services.” Psychodynamic Practice, 23 (2), 181–189.
  • Fotaki, M., Islam, G., & Antoni, A. (2019): Business Ethics and Care in Organizations. New York: Routledge.
  • Held, V. (2006): The Ethics of Care: Personal, Political, and Global. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Hochschild, A.R. (2000) “Global care chains and emotional surplus value.” In: W. Hutton & A. Giddens (eds.): On the Edge: Living with Global Capitalism. London: Jonathan Cape, 130–146.
  • Horton, A. (2021): “Liquid home? Financialisation of the built environment in the UK’s ‘hotel-style’ care homes.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 46, 179–192.
  • Tronto, J.C. (1995): “Caring as the basis for radical political judgments.” Hypatia, 10, 141–149.
  • Williams, F. (2018): “Care: Intersections of scales, inequalities and crises.” Current Sociology, 66 (4), 547–561.
D. Derya Özdemir Kaya is a lecturer at the University of Sussex Business School, UK. Her PhD thesis explored passion at work and affective labor drawing on a psychosocial ethnography of the Turkish fine-dining sector. Following her PhD, Derya studied digitalization of affective labor during Covid-19 with funding from the Productivity and the Futures of Work GRP at Warwick. She is currently working on a publicly funded research project exploring the financial impacts of Covid-19 on care homes in the United Kingdom.
Anne Antoni is an Assistant Professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management, France. Her research focuses on an ethics of care at work, the construction of organizational morality, the quality of relationships in the workplace, and ethics in research methods. She is currently conducting empirical studies on the suffering of PhD students and on the gendered impact of Covid-19 on lives of workers. Anne is an active reviewer for journals in organizational studies and business ethics and is a member of the Editorial Review Board of ‘Business Ethics Quarterly’.
Marianna Fotaki is a Professor of Business Ethics at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK. She was Network Fellow (2014–2015) at the Center for Ethics, Harvard University, and co-directed an online think-tank, the Centre for Health and the Public Interest ( pro bono (2014–2017). Marianna has published over 100 articles on gender, inequalities and the marketization of public services appearing in the leading international journals.