A serious matter: Clowning as an ethical care practice

Katharina Molterer, Patrizia Hoyer

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In this chapter, we frame ‘clowning’ as an ethical care practice that bears the potential for opening up new affective realities in the context of residential nursing homes. Since activities of clowning adhere to professional care standards while also embracing relationality, it could be argued that clowning enacts a ‘practical ethics of care’. A practical care ethics has been defined as being grounded in a nexus of ordinary and situated practices that are inspired by a professional and/ or a relational care logic. As we propose in this chapter, clowning also exceeds these two care logics by comprising activities that are refreshingly illogical and at the same time grounded in intuitive, embodied and material affects. By emphasizing the importance of these affects, the chapter seeks to advance the theorization of a ‘practical ethics of care’ towards a more nuanced understanding of its affective dimension.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBusiness Ethics and Care in Organizations
EditorsMarianna Fotaki, Gazi Islam, Anne Antoni
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780429029943
ISBN (Print)9780367140601
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Business Ethics


  • Clowning
  • Ethics of care
  • Practical ethics
  • Professional care logic
  • Relational care logic
  • Affect
  • Nursing homes


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