Men, W, Zhang, S and McGhee, D (2020) Utilizing the Moral Nobility of Older Chinese Women in Governance – the Uses of Humility, Empathy and an Ethics of Care in Moral Clinics in Huzhou City. British Journal of Sociology. ISSN 0007-1315

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This paper examines the emergence of the role of “moral doctors” who volunteer in what are called “moral clinics” in Huzhou city. In these moral clinics, the characteristics, experiences, and attributes of older women, in particular, are highly valued and viewed as being essential to the role of the moral doctor. These moral doctors act as moral exemplars and conflict mediators in their local communities. Their moral capital and professionalism, combined with their gender, age, familial and neighborhood attributes, contribute to the accumulation of an affective feminized labor which employs the techniques of care, reason, and moral fortitude to govern the self and others. We unpack these ethical virtues exemplified by moral doctors and nurses in order to show how a female‐centric “ethic of care” can become a set of techniques in governing others. In this paper, we elaborate on the role that these moral doctors perform to support the aims of the moral clinics in terms of fostering pro‐social behavior and moral obligation in local communities. We argue that the performance of this type of “moral work” is both a mechanism of discipline and a process of self‐actualization. We contribute to the current literature on “therapeutic governance” in China by showing how the non‐expert medicalization of social ills by moral doctors is incorporated into the reproduction of social control.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article along with all relevant information regarding copyrights can be found at;
Uncontrolled Keywords: affection and reason; affective labor; China; ethics of care; moral clinics; moral doctors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ1050 Aged. Gerontology (Social aspects). Retirement
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Political and Global Studies
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2020 11:22
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2020 11:22

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