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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 41, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2021

Cara Curtis
Pages 21-36

“No One Left Behind”: Learning From A Multidimensional Ethic of Care in a Women’s Prison in the US South

Drawing on qualitative research in a theological studies program at a women’s prison, this paper describes a multidimensional ethic of care practiced by the program’s students. Analyzing this ethic, the paper distills three virtues that the students’ practice offers to non-incarcerated persons seeking to advance care and justice in the world: attention, outward-looking self-care, and steadfastness. Through this analysis, the paper makes two main contributions, building on multiple strands of work in everyday ethics and the ethics of care: 1) it explores the moral and pedagogic value of incarcerated women’s ethical practices, and in doing so aims to unsettle assumptions about “where ethics happens,” particularly virtue ethics, and who are qualified ethical teachers; 2) in discussing a care ethic embedded in a carceral context, it furthers the case for ethics of care that are robustly and explicitly tied to the pursuit of justice.

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