Individualization, risk and the body Sociology and care

Michael Fine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


No longer hidden in the home as a private problem, care and the human services are increasingly important public concerns in advanced societies. Care is also emerging as a significant field of social theory and enquiry with considerable importance for the field of sociology. However, it remains a specialist topic rather than a central concern of the discipline. This article considers these developments and discusses the significance that recognizing the central place of care in social life might have for sociology. To understand what contemporary sociology might offer the study of care, in turn, I draw on the work of a number of leading contemporary theorists to identify four themes that have particular significance for the study of care: the body; individualization; risk; and the new organizational logics. The potential application of these four themes to the study of care is identified and a number of contemporary developments and future options considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-266
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2005


  • Care
  • Human services
  • Individualization
  • Risk
  • Social policy
  • The body
  • Work


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