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42 J. Soc. & Soc. Welfare 95 (2015)
Relieving Human Suffering: Compassion in Social Policy

handle is hein.journals/jrlsasw42 and id is 102 raw text is: 

              Relieving Human Suffering:
              Compassion in Social Policy

                   MARY ELIZABETH COLLINS

                      SARAH GARLNGTON

                      Boston University
                    School of Social Work

                         KATE COONEY

                       Yale University
                   School of Management

    Human suffering is always present in society. There is general
    consensus that action should be taken to address suffering, but
    there are differing views as to the appropriate means of doing so.
    In this paper we utilize a classical understanding of the virtue of
    compassion to answer the research question: How does contem-
    porary U.S. policy address human suffering through compas-
    sionate response? To answer this question, we conduct a critical
    analysis of three policy domains (hospice care, domestic violence,
    and disaster relief) to determine variation in response to human
    suffering. Comparisons among the domains suggest the various
    ways in which compassion can be observed within formal social
    policy. We discuss the implications of a compassion-focused ap-
    proach to analysis of policies that address human suffering, and
    more broadly, the use of a virtue-oriented perspective on policy.

    Key Words: critical policy analysis, compassion, virtue ethics,
    human suffering

    Human suffering is always present in society. Although it
may take different forms in different historical and societal con-
texts, there are elements of suffering even in the most advanced
and prosperous societies. Indeed, modern prosperity, while
reducing some forms of suffering (e.g., widespread hunger)
may engender other types of suffering (e.g., alienation, social
Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, March 2015, Volume XLII, Number 1

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