The Western Ethic of Care or an Afro-Communitarian Ethic?: Finding the Right Relational Morality

Journal of Global Ethics 9 (1):77-92 (2013)
In her essay ‘The Curious Coincidence of Feminine and African Moralities’ (1987), Sandra Harding was perhaps the first to note parallels between a typical Western feminist ethic and a characteristically African, i.e., indigenous sub-Saharan, approach to morality. Beyond Harding’s analysis, one now frequently encounters the suggestion, in a variety of discourses in both the Anglo-American and sub-Saharan traditions, that an ethic of care and an African ethic are more or less the same or share many commonalities. While the two ethical perspectives are indeed sisters, in this article I argue, first, that they are not identical twins, and, more strongly, that the family resemblance between the two is significantly less than has been recognized. I highlight key differences between representative forms of an ethic of care and a sub-Saharan communitarian morality, after which I argue, second, that the latter better captures some central feminist concerns and moral considerations generally. That is, I maintain that an African ideal of community, when understood in a philosophically refined way, provides an important, relational corrective to the ethic of care.
Keywords Ethic of care  African ethics  Relational morality
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/17449626.2012.756421
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Alisa L. Carse & Hilde Lindemann Nelson (1996). Rehabilitating Care. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 6 (1):19-35.
Linda D. Holler (1984). In Search of a Whole-System Ethic. Journal of Religious Ethics 12 (2):219 - 239.
Michael Greene (1997). How We Got Over. Business Ethics Quarterly 7 (2):133-147.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

38 ( #86,111 of 1,725,584 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #268,753 of 1,725,584 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.