Medical Humanities


Care, Narrativity, and the Nature of Disponibilité

Care, Narrativity, and the Nature of Disponibilité
Melvin Chen

This paper attempts to make more explicit the relationship between narrativity and feminist care eth-ics. The central concern is the way in which narrativity carries the semantic load that some accounts of feminist care ethics imply but leave hanging. In so doing, some feminist theorists of care-based ethics then undervalue the major contribution that narrativity provides to care ethics: it carries the semantic load that is essential to the best care. In this article, I defend the narrative as the central medium though which we make sense of and communicate our lives and their attendant hopes and cares. More than just working with the narrative of the cared-for, caring is about investing in the nar-rative of the cared-for in order to meet the needs of this cared-for and how this narrative might turn out. I will further demonstrate how the attitude of caring or investing in a narrative would amount to what Gabriel Marcel has described as the attitude of disponibilité.