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The University of Southampton
Health Ethics and Law (HEAL)

Ethics and Relational Practices: Solidarity, Belonging and Care

Published: 15 January 2018
Professor Bruce Jennings
Professor Bruce Jennings speaker at Third Annual Johnathan Montgomery Lecture

The Centre for Health, Ethics and Law (HEAL), part of the University of Southampton Law School, is pleased to welcome Professor Bruce Jennings on 15 January 2018. He will be giving the Third Annual Johnathan Montgomery Lecture, entitled "Ethics and Relational Practices: Solidarity, Belonging, and Care".

This lecture proposes that health care and public health would benefit from ethical discourse critically focused on relational practices. Such an ethical discourse arises out of recent moral and political philosophy in areas such as critical theory, care theory, feminism, and hermeneutics. The concept of a “practice” can be used to counter the undue individualism of much work in health ethics by prompting the examination the formation of patterns of agency over time rather than limiting itself to particular decisions and choices evaluated at a given moment. Looking at practices diachronically rather than at decisions synchronically permits an understanding of structured injustice and institutionalized power that often eludes theories of ethical choice or decision focusing on the rights and obligations of individual agents. The lecture goes on to argue that central to an ethics of relational practices are the just recognition of membership in communities of equal dignity and liberty and the just mutuality in societies of interdependence and respect. Just recognition of membership and just relationships of mutuality are moral values and modes of agency that are manifested in social practices such as solidarity, belonging, and care. This sheds light on the importance of these concepts and practices in the domain of health policy and public health.

Bruce Jennings is Adjunct Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University, Senior Fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature, and Senior Advisor and Fellow at The Hastings Center. In addition to authoring numerous books and articles on ethical issues in public policy, he is Editor-in-Chief of Bioethics, 4th Edition, 6 vols. (2014), entitled The Encyclopedia of Bioethics in previous editions, this is the standard reference work in the field. His most recent book is Ecological Governance: Toward a New Social Contract with the Earth (2016).

The lecture will take place in Building 2a, Lecture Theatre H (Highfield Campus).

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