From competence to vulnerability: Care, ethics, and elders from racialized minorities

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2008. From competence to vulnerability: Care, ethics, and elders from racialized minorities. Mortality, 13(1), pp. 24-41. ISSN 1357-6275 [Article]

[img] Text
Gunaratnam_Mortality_2008_.pdf - Published Version
Permissions: GRO Registered Users Only

Download (295kB)

Abstract or Description

This article discusses the care of older people from groups most commonly referred to in
the UK as being ‘‘minority ethnic’’. It considers the significance and growing popularity of social policy
initiatives aimed at cultural competence in care provided at the end of life. Drawing upon qualitative
focus group interviews with 56 health and social care professionals involved in the delivery of palliative
care in the UK, this paper examines how the end-of-life care of ‘‘minority ethnic’’ elders is talked about
by professionals, highlighting the gaps that can exist between conceptual models and real-world practice.
The role and relevance of cultural competence as an ‘‘abstract system’’ (Giddens, 1991) is examined
critically and attention is drawn to the ethical potential of professional experiences of vulnerability and of
not knowing what to do. It is contended that these components of care are marginalized in current
approaches to cultural competence that can discourage engagement with socio-political realities and stifle
emotional and moral thinking.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


death and dying; ethnicity; ethics; narrative; older people

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:





Funding bodyFunder IDGrant Number
Department of HealthUNSPECIFIED

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Oct 2010 13:20

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:29

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)