Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This dissertation focuses on Lavinia Lloyd Dock's (1858-1956) re-envisioning of nursing and caring as social responsibility and the implications of this conceptualization for democracy. Dock was an American nurse, educator, settlement worker, suffragist, pacifist, social activist, writer, and historian. Her conception of holistic welfare embodied a 'new ideal' of society (Dock 1907, p. 899), a new understanding of democracy, and an expression of citizenship based on social responsibility for the welfare of others. Dock's idea of democracy embraced women's values and ways of being in the world; disputed universal, individual rights; and privileged communal values, collaboration, inclusion, and diversity. Moreover, she envisioned the world as a global democracy beyond national boundaries and other differences which often separate individuals. This study aspires to promote an understanding of an internationalist notion of citizenship and democracy that includes caring, collaboration, social responsibility, pacifism, and the holistic well-being of all individuals. This historiography also explores Dock's relentless social activism for the construction of a 'new ideal' of society and democracy. This study aims to empower nurse educators and practicing nurses to interrogate traditional notions of caring. Inspired by Dock's epistemology, the author proposes a re- conceptualization of nursing curricula as democratic and as embracing caring as social responsibility for the holistic welfare of others. Finally, this dissertation seeks to recuperate Lavinia Dock as a nurse educator, historian, philosopher, writer, feminist, social worker, social activist, and one of many turn of the 20th century progressive women who enhanced the welfare of society and improved American democracy.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Petra Munro



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Education Commons