Introduction: Competing Responsibilities: Reckoning Personal Responsibility, Care for the Other, and the Social Contract in Contemporary Life
Susanna Trnka, Catherine Trundle, 2017. "Introduction: Competing Responsibilities: Reckoning Personal Responsibility, Care for the Other, and the Social Contract in Contemporary Life", Competing Responsibilities: The Ethics and Politics of Contemporary Life, Susanna Trnka, Catherine Trundle
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Assumptions about the intrinsic value of self-responsibility increasingly pervade social life, underpinning new forms of governance, subjectivities, and collective relations. Despite, however, the pervasive and diverse deployments of neoliberal rhetorics of responsibilization, in everyday practice, responsibility entails a much broader range of meanings. This introduction suggests a new approach to understanding responsibility based on the concept of competing responsibilities, which places responsibilization alongside relations of care for the Other and social contract ideologies that underpin citizen-state relations—three modes of interrelationship that we see as underlying the competing responsibilities inherent in contemporary social life. Inspired by current examinations of neoliberal projects of responsibilization, but also looking beyond them, the framework of competing responsibilities enables us to examine modes of responsibility that extend, challenge, or coexist with the neoliberal focus on individual cultivation of the self.