Working Notes: Perspectives on our caring culture
The latest issue of Working Notes », the journal published by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, examines how care is expressed from societal and political perspectives. In the editorial, Dr Ciara Murphy refers to the handling of care in times of coronavirus. She writes:
“The stark limitations of our caring culture need to be fully understood, and solutions – political, societal, and individual – explored. All of the essays within this issue highlight, to a greater or lesser extent, the ways in which we are not caring for people. These essays, in their different ways, also trace a path forward in terms of changes that can be made.”
Hannah Malcolm’s theological reflection, Delegating Love, on the social structures which encourage society to disengage from care opens this issue. Her piece introduces the reader to the subject by highlighting some of the major issues surrounding how we currently care by delegation within our society.
The scale at which the State obfuscates its responsibility is clear in Housing Rights for Disabled People, by James Cawley. Cawley writes an in-depth analysis of the myriad barriers disabled people face in finding suitable and affordable housing. This essay draws on the first-hand experience of both disabled people and their families.
Insight from the care giver, as well as those abandoned within the care giving system, is invaluable. Seán Duggan, Head of Chaplaincy Services of the Irish Prison Service, in his essay A Year in Irish Prisons: Chaplains’ Annual Reports offers such an account. Unlike the delegation of housing to the private market, prison chaplaincy is a responsibility held within the Irish Prison Service and is consequently still within the public realm.
Dr Gerard Doyle in Co-op Care – the Case for Co-operative Care in Ireland outlines an alternative route to the current economic model which has far reaching benefits for elder people and communities in general. Co-operatives, Doyle argues, are an ideal organisational form for elder care. When profit is removed from the equation and care for the person is centred, it is unsurprising that not only is the level of care improved but staff welfare and health outcomes as well.
While other essays focus primarily on vulnerable citizens, the last essay in the issue – Reaping the Rewards of an Inner-City Garden – by Dr Karin Bacon and Elizabeth Cox, explores the interface of care and education of children, and care for our common home. Using an inner-city school garden as a case study, Bacon and Cox set out the argument that Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) is an important teaching tool in fostering children’s relationship with the natural environment.
Working Notes is a journal published by the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. The journal focuses on social, economic and theological analysis of Irish society. It has been produced since 1987.