[DE] „The Inclusivity Index for the Global Civic Society“ strebt eine Welt in Balance und Menschenwürde an. Diese soll den Globalen Süden integrieren und die aktuellen „Machtasymmetrien“ vermeiden will (siehe Working Paper). In meinem ersten kurzen Beitrag zur Lösung dieser Aufgabe beschäftigte ich mich mit dem Problem der „kulturellen Voreingenommenheit“ und den Dingen im Leben, die schwer zu messen sind. Dazu gehört der Aspekt der „Fürsorgeethik“ (Carol Gilligan) sowie der „mechanischen und organischen Solidarität“ (Emile Durkheim, Ferdinand Tönnies), die bisher noch nicht hinreichend in den Indizes integriert sind. In diesem zweiten Artikel möchte ich das Verständnis dafür vertiefen, warum Gilligan und Durkheim diese beiden Aspekte angesprochen haben und sie als „zwischenmenschliche emotionale Fürsorge“ zusammengefasst werden können. Diese sind für eine Welt in Balance und interkulturellem Frieden von wesentlicher Bedeutung.

„The Inclusivity Index for the Global Civic Society” strives for a world in balance and human dignity that integrates the Global South and wants to avoid the current “asymmetries in power” (see Working Paper). Therefore, in my first approach to solve this task, I was addressing the problem of “cultural bias” and the things in life that are difficult to measure, especially the aspect of “Care Ethics” (Carol Gilligan) and “Mechanical and Organic Solidarity” (Emile Durkheim, Ferdinand Tönnies) that is not integrated in the indexes yet. In this second approach, I want to deepen the understanding why those two aspects Gilligan and Durkheim addressed and could be summarized, as “interpersonal emotional care” are essential for balanced societies and intercultural peace.

A Care Index is based on the idea that a fulfilled life is not only dependent on state security, low crime rate and other aspects indices usually measure but also on how well we feel emotionally cared and looked after. This is interlinked with ethics as Carol Gilligan has already shown (see Gilligan 1982) and was one of my main results of my Ph.D. thesis about traditional economic ethics on the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey (see Sigg 2017).

In my first approach I claimed that there are things we can’t measure. After thinking deeper about the necessity of a “Care Index” I realized that it might not be that we can’t measure care. The real problem is that we do not think it is an important value as all the things we normally do measure. This is related to the fact that some things we can’t grasp and measure as easily as others as our views are biased and culturally conditioned. We take things for granted until they are gone.

Furthermore, it seems that researchers who have a qualitative approach often have another focus as researchers who have a quantitative approach. This gap could be closed with a Care Index that brings attention to the individual interpersonal emotional relationships.

Getting back to the core question of the project: what holds societies together and what makes us feel safe, nurtured and valued in a society so we can live peacefully together? Peace will occur when people’s needs are met through social justice, trust and interdependent care/solidarity for each other.[1]  

A low crime rate on the one hand makes us feel safe, but how does it impact our quality of life if we do not have nurturing and caring relationships with people that we can turn to in case we are in any sort of insecurity (financially, physically e.g.)?

A state may provide financial support if we loose our job, we can go to a psychologist if we struggle with the impact of loosing a job but can this be sufficient if we do not have friends of family that really care for us? Various studies have already shown that the impact of social relationships is critical for mental as well as physical health (see e.g. Cacioppo/Hawkley 2003, Cohen 2004, Umberson/Karaz 2010). [2]

Also, we can have the most stable state regarding financial stability, low crime rate, environmental care e.g. – but what to do with all of that outer stability when we are sitting alone at home, drowning in loneliness, anxiety and depression?

All the inventions and conveniences of modern life are nice to have at best, or detrimental like the emotional and mental health impact on teenagers, but they do not nurture our deepest core as humans. “Loneliness” is a constantly growing topic that has already been addressed as a major social problem almost 70 years ago from David Riesman (1950). It is now a widespread researched problem that can also affect our physical health (see e.g. Cacioppo/Hawkley 2003, Umberson/Karaz 2010).

Organic and Mechanical Solidarity

In 1893 the French Sociologist Emile Durkheim released his dissertation “The Division of Labor in Society”. In this fundamental work of Sociology he analysed the transformation from a traditional to a modern, specifically industrialised society. With this transformation the form of solidarity changed.

Traditional societies are bonded mainly through “organic solidarity” which is a form of “personal emotional care” that was based on personal relationships. With the rising industrialization the workplace became a place where strangers started to work together who had no personal relationship before, so they needed another form of bonding, based only on their work, which is “mechanical solidarity”.[3]

Durkheim as well as other sociologists (see e.g. Simmel 1896 & 1901, Tönnies 1887, Weber 1904) recognized the freedom but also the danger that came in this societal transition from a traditional to a modern society, from organic to mechanical solidarity, which he put in the term of “anomie”. “Anomie” is a state where the necessary bonds between the individuals got fragile and a form of social disintegration was occurring. The implications of this disintegration are e.g. a higher suicide and criminality rate. Also, some of the current crises we face could be explained with the theoretical framework of “anomie”.

Personal Emotional Care is the idea that people are not only held together through their mind, their work and mechanical solidarity that makes them function in a certain way but furthermore through interconnections through their hearts, emotional well-being which is organic solidarity.

In Eastern societies personal relationships still have more values nowadays, so if a person would loose their job, the family or friends would catch up for their family members. These interpersonal relationships are often criticised by Western researchers as they put their focus only on the downside of it, e.g. corruption (see e.g. Boissevain 1974).

On my own research done on the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul the Basaris (the honourable tradesmen on the Bazaar) would not turn to the Bank in the first place if they were in need for money but instead to another friend to help them out. This is not based on a contract but on giving someone one’s word[4] (see Sigg 2017, p. 243).

For sure those are “ideal types” as there is also “organic solidarity” in the West and “mechanical solidarity” in the East. Still, I use those “ideal types” as an analytical instrument in the sense of Max Weber to see what is the predominant structure that structures those societies. This also applies when speaking about “Care Ethics” and “Ethics of Justice” in the next chapter.

Care Ethics

In the 1980s there was a huge controversy about Lawrence Kohlberg’s famous “Theory of Moral Development”[5]. In the result, African men and Western women were the “least moral”, white western men scored the highest moral standards. It looked like there were no morals in Africa and in women. His staff member, Carol Gilligan[6], realized that the index design might be biased and developed “Care Ethics” – an addition to the common “Ethics of Justice”. After she had a hard time that her results were accepted this topic is now discussed in feminism, but unfortunately not that often in a project like the “Inclusive Development for a Globalization with Human Dignity“.

In fact the morals of (western) women and (African) men were similar but not what was seen as objective morals from a western moral point of view.  Regarding western masculine standards morals have to be “fair”, “absolute”, “just” and “objective”. In addition to this Gilligan showed that “feminine morals” (care ethics) were based on the circumstances and situation someone was in, on the responsibilities someone had for someone else, on the degree a person gets hurt although the morals might be “fair”. “Feminine Morals” in addition to “Masculine Morals” were based on “inductive” rather than “deductive” thinking, based on relationships rather than “formal, abstract thinking” (see Harding 1995, p. 162ff).

Gilligan does not see “Care Ethics” or “Feminine Morals” as superior to the “Ethics of Justice” or “Masculine Morals”, instead she suggests that both are important for the moral development of human beings (see Harding 1995, p. 163).

This is indeed also my intent when suggesting a “Care Index” as a “Fifth Element” to the “Magical Square” approach of this project. It is not about diminishing the values of financial safety, state security e.g., it is about adding an important additional “measurement” to the human constitution and the building of a (stable) state.

Institutionalized and Personal Emotional Care

To deepen the understanding of what “personal emotional care” is and why it is fundamental to the wellbeing of societies, let’s have a look at institutionalized health care. Usually an index would measure and value this aspect of social life based on parameters like, does an institutionalized health care system exist, to whom it is available, under what circumstances, the number of doctors per capital, etc.[7]

While these parameters are important and give an external, transpersonal picture of the health care system, the interpersonal dimension, the personal emotional care, would look at factors like the personal quality time a nurse can spend with a patient. These emotional care factors especially “social relationships” have been shown to have significant effects on the process and progress of the recovery (see e.g. Umberson/Karaz 2010).

Additionally to the research done today, Friedrich II. conducted a notorious experiment in the 12/13th century.[8] Babies were given water, food and anything they needed to survive. But they were not given any emotional care.

He would give children food and everything but would tell the governess/nanny to not give them love. They died.

So, how would we begin to measure emotional care?

In the U.S. there is a rising interest in so-called emotional-wellbeing in the workplace. Susan David is a leading thinker at Harvard University, even honoured by the Harvard Business Review in 2013, for her work on “Emotional Agility”. She points out that so called “soft skills” (emotional regulation, empathy, values-aligned responding, authenticity) are more important in a workplace than any other “hard skills” and wants to stop us calling them “soft skills” and rather “human strengths”.[9] (see David 2013 & 2016).

The US might be at the forefront of realizing the importance of “personal emotional care” because mental health problems have become a major concern, starting with children in school.

This is not a romantic idea, but if the majority of people are getting physically or mentally ill, the health system is becoming overtaxed and finally there are too few people to work. So, even rationalists and economists must rethink their values.

Interestingly, it is the missing part of “organic solidarity” that Emile Durkheim already pointed out in the 19th century that is re-implemented in a new way.

“Personal Emotional Care” can be seen as the invisible glue that not only holds people, , and thus whole societies together, but also keeps them, and a whole society, healthy and therefore happy and prosperous.

A Care Index as an instrument of balance between Heart and Mind, Poor and Rich, East and West

In the 1970s the idea was very popular that all societies would evolve the same way of Modernity that included urbanization, capitalistic economies, industrialization, national states, the change of household/family structure e.g. until “Multiple Modernities” were discovered (see Eisenstadt 2000, Giordano 2006).

Unconsciously the Western paradigm was always seen as superior and should therefore rule and structure the world which is a common idea since the “Age of Enlightenment” and maybe even before.

Yet, if we really strive for a world in balance and want to “avoid the current asymmetries in power” between the Global South – East and West, as addressed in the project description of „The Inclusivity Index for the Global Civic Society” then a Care Index as a “Fifth Element” in addition to the “Magical Square” could be the right tool. It would bring attention and value to qualities and “softs skills” (personal emotional care) the Global South and East still cultivates while it got “lost in transition” due to the “one-dimensional” (Marcuse 2008) understanding of wealth and prosperity that is running Western civilizations and have already been addressed by wise philosophers ages ago (see Smith 1759 & 1776).

“How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it. Of this kind is pity or compassion, the emotion which we feel for the misery of others, when we either see it, or are made to conceive it in a very lively manner. That we often derive sorrow from the sorrow of others, is a matter of fact too obvious to require any instances to prove it; for this sentiment, like all the other original passions of human nature, is by no means confined to the virtuous and humane, though they perhaps may feel it with the most exquisite sensibility. The greatest ruffian, the most hardened violator of the laws of society, is not altogether without it.” (Smith 1759, p. 5)


  • Boissevain, Jeremy (1974): Friends of Friends: Networks, Manipulators and Coalitions. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers
  • Cacioppo, John T. / Hawkley Louise C. (2003): “Social Isolation and Health, with an Emphasis on Underlying Mechanisms” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 46: S39-S52.
  • Cohen, Sheldon (2004) “Social Relationships and Health.” American Psychologist 59:676-84
  • David, Susan/Congleton, Christina (2013): Emotional Agility. IN: Harvard Business Review November 2013. https://hbr.org/2013/11/emotional-agility (accessed on 15.05.2024)
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[1] The relation between Environmental Care and the ability to care for one’s self and others could be related to the care and mindfulness we are able to give to others. This could be an additional category to be addressed at a later stage of this project.

[2] See e.g. also „The health benefits of strong relationships.“ Harvard Medical School December 2010.

www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-health-benefits-of-strong-relationships (accessed on 08.08.2024)

[3] Although Emile Durkheim was using the terms “organic and mechanical solidarity” in the opposite way I will use the terms regarding his German colleague Ferdinand Tönnies (1887). Tönnies saw a similar problem Durkheim addressed, yet his way of using the terms where the opposite way. I will use Tönnies’ wording, as it is more in alignment with the etymological use of those two words (see www.etymonline.com/word/organic).

We could associate “organic” with the “relationships of the heart” and “mechanical” with the “relationships of the mind”. Neither are better itself, but as we strive for “balance” and the research focus mainly on the “mind” matters that address the heart should be taken into consideration as well.

[4] This is another aspect of Durkheim’s great work. He showed that „the non-contractual elements of a contract“ (organic solidarity – unwritten law) can be more important than the contract itself (mechanic solidarity – written law) (vgl. Durkheim 1992, p. 47; p. 267f). How this is interrelated with “personal emotional care” and trust could be addressed in a further paper.

[5] A short summary of „Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development“ you can find here: www.verywellmind.com/kohlbergs-theory-of-moral-development-2795071 (accessed on 15.05.2024)

[6] A short summary of „Gilligan’s Theory of Moral Development“ you can find here: www.verywellmind.com/the-carol-gilligan-theory-and-a-woman-s-sense-of-self-5198408 (accessed on 15.05.2024)

[7] It is already proposed that AI could be the better “nurse” if caring is only reduced to bringing the people the pills the right time.

[8] Waisenkinderversuche. Lexikon der Psychologie. www.spektrum.de/lexikon/psychologie/waisenkinderversuche/16645 (accessed on 13.05.2024)

[9] www.susandavid.com/resource/what-were-taught-matters-vs-what-actually-matters/ (accessed on 13.05.2024)

Posted by Gabriele Maria Sigg