Ethics as a Located Story: A Comparison of North American and Cuban Clinical Ethics

Amy Rossiter, Richard Walsh Bowers, Isaac Prilleltensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper provides a comparative perspective on applied professional ethics. As part of a multi-site research project, findings from a qualitative interview study of Cuban psychologists were compared to findings from a similar study of psychologists and social workers in three Canadian human service settings. The comparison generates insights into the contingent nature of conceptions and applications of ethics: that is, the authors found that different 'stories' about the meaning of professional ethics derived from the different historical, political and economic relations of Cuba and North America. Such differences were manifested in the relation of the professional to the political, in collectivist versus individualist orientations to ethics, and in relationships between the personal and the professional. The authors contend that the importance of a comparative approach is that it encourages a reflexive attitude to ethics by unsettling the notion that there are universal prescriptions for ethics. In addition, the comparison opens space for including the dynamics of privilege, marginalization, power and resistance as crucial elements of the social construction of professional ethics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-556
Number of pages24
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Comparative ethics
  • Culture
  • Ethics
  • Postmodern ethics
  • Postmodern mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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