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Dignity as honour-wound: An experiential and relational view

Galvin, Kathleen; Todres, Les


Kathleen Galvin

Les Todres


© 2014 The Authors. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. In this paper, we draw on a phenomenological-philosophical foundation to clarify the meaning of dignity as a coherent phenomenon. Consistent with an evocation of its central meanings, we then introduce and delineate seven kinds of dignity that are intertwined and interrelated. We illustrate how these kinds of dignity can provide a useful template to think about its qualities, its 'rupture' and its 'restoration' in human life, particularly in relation to health and social care contexts. We then consider the implications of these relational and experiential views for current debates about the notion of dignity: Is dignity a useless concept? Is dignity objective or subjective? What are the useful ways of characterizing different varieties of dignity? We conclude by pointing to a metaphor that may hold the sense and meaning of our deepest human dignity: The gathering of both value and vulnerability, in which human value does not depend on the eradication of human vulnerability, but occurs within its very context.


Galvin, K., & Todres, L. (2015). Dignity as honour-wound: An experiential and relational view. Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 21(3), 410-418.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 22, 2014
Online Publication Date Oct 23, 2014
Publication Date 2015-06
Deposit Date Dec 15, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of evaluation in clinical practice
Print ISSN 1356-1294
Electronic ISSN 1365-2753
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 3
Pages 410-418
Keywords Caring, Caring science, Dignity, Ethics of care, Existential theory, Health, Heidegger, Martin, 1889-1976, Husserl, Edmund, 1859-1938, Lifeworld, Medical humanities, Phenomenology, Philosophy, Wellbeing
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Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 2015, v.21, issue 3


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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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