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Seminar Dealing with dependency in long-term care (17 November)

Tuesday 17 November, University of Humanistic Studies

Dependency in caring relationships is inevitable. As care ethicists have long insisted, there cannot be care without some form of dependency. But for most, the thought of dependency is unpleasant to say the least. To feel “dependent” is to feel powerless or burdensome to others. And to make people “dependent” is to diminish their autonomy or harm their dignity. In liberal societies, “dependency” is a dirty word. Hence, as Stacy Simplican (2017, 401) observes, “dependence is both the foundation of and a problem for caring relationships”. Foundational, because it is inescapable; problematic, because it is unwanted.

In this seminar, we explore how care professionals in long-term care settings deal with the “problem” of dependency – how they approach, tackle, consider, regard, resist, signal, treat, ignore, contemplate, or otherwise tinker with the predicament that dependency in long-term care is both inevitable and undesirable. 


  • Simo Vehmas (Stockholm University)
  • Jason Rodriquez (University of Massachusetts Boston)
  • Jante Schmidt and Ludo Glimmerveen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) 
  • Simon van der Weele (University of Humanistic Studies)

PhD Defence

Wednesday 18 November, Simon van der Weele (University of Humanistic Studies) will defend his dissertation The Moral Charge of Dependency. His research centres on the “problem” of dependency in care for people with intellectual disabilities, responds to each of their contributions. In doing so, we compare professional tinkering with the "problem" of dependency for long-term care in different care settings (disability care, elderly care), national settings (Netherlands, Finland, United States) and disciplinary perspectives (sociology, philosophy, anthropology).