Neoliberalism, Moral Precarity, and the Crisis of Care

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


After offering an opening consideration of the hazards of neoliberalism, I address the general shape of the crisis of care that has evolved under its auspices. Two aspects of this crisis require greater attention: the moral precarity of caregivers and the relational harms of neoliberal capitalism. Thus, I first consider the moral precarity that caregivers experience by drawing on a concept that originates in scholarly work on the experiences of healthcare workers and combat veterans, namely, moral injury. Through this concept, we can see how caregivers in late-stage capitalism face a seemingly unavoidable violation of their own significant moral beliefs. Second, I examine how the crisis of care results not only in individual harms of moral injury but also in harms to relationships themselves, as I continue to track the impact of moral injury on our intrapersonal and interpersonal lives. Ultimately, I argue that an important facet of the crisis of care is how it operates as a crisis of relationality in which our intrapersonal and interpersonal connections are placed under practical and moral strain. In taking a broader view, we can see how the fraying of particular intrapersonal and interpersonal connections can accumulate, resulting in the unraveling of wider webs of interdependency, just when we need them most. Throughout the paper, I zero in on the moral implications of the crisis of care driven by neoliberalism, featuring the damages that caregivers and their relationships sustain when situated in morally precarious ways. In doing so, I drive home the point that the crisis of care under neoliberalism is as much a moral and relational crisis as it is a political and economic one.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCare Ethics in the Age of Precarity
EditorsMaurice Hamington, Michael Flower
PublisherUniversity of Minnesota Press
StatePublished - 2021


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