Values-based practice: but which values, and whose?

Bob Brecher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Fulford’s advocacy of ‘values-based practice’ is deeply puzzling; for although it purports to do justice to the full range of whatever values anyone concerned brings to the table, it in fact leaves conflicts between people’s values at best unresolved or, worse, simply ignored. The difficulty arises from two fundamental shortcomings. First, it is not remotely clear what he takes values actually to be; and in particular, how values can be based in skills, as though they were something instrumental rather than normative. What does it mean – indeed, what could it mean -- to say that ‘Values-based practice is a new skills-based approach to working more effectively with complex and conflicting values’ (Fulford, 2011, 976)? Second, values are always someone’s values; but Fulford’s proposal simply glosses over the problem of whose values ‘values-based practice’ is supposed to consist in, gesturing vaguely in the direction of liberalism, as if that were something both fairly simply given and normatively uncontroversial.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDebates in values-based practice: arguments for and against
EditorsMichael Loughlin
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781107038936
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


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