On mission in the cosmopolitan world Ethics of care in the Armenian refugee crisis, 1920-1947

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Swedish missionary, Alma Johansson, witnessed the 1915 Armenian Genocide. Like many foreign missionaries and diplomats, Johansson was caught in the middle of the violence and was then forced to take on wider tasks and develop skills other than what she had primarily been sent out for. After the war, she developed new aid work among Armenian refugees in Thessaloniki. In order to understand Alma Johansson's humanitarian endeavour, I will use the moral philosophical theory of ethics of care as an analytical tool and connect it to moral cosmopolitanism. Ethics of care is still a relatively unexplored field within cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism is rather discussed through abstract accounts of universal principles and of the significance of impartiality, individual rights and justice. The ethics of care emphasizes instead the importance of context, interdependence, relationships and responsibilities to concrete others. From the case of Alma Johansson, the author discusses and analyses the values and practices of interpersonal caring relationships in the specific transnational and humanitarian setting of the Armenian refugee crisis. How are cosmopolitan values expressed in the narratives of Alma Johansson? In what sense can she as a missionary be interpreted as a cosmopolitan caregiver and an intermediary of cosmopolitan values?


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History


  • transnationalism, mission history, gender, ethics of care, Kvinnliga, Missionsarbetare (Women Missionary Workers), Armenian Genocide, cosmopolitanism, humanitarianism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-431
JournalScandinavian Journal of History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch