Chapter

Authoritative consumers or experts by experience? User groups in health and social care

Marian Barnes

in The consumer in public services

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847421814
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303725 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847421814.003.0012
Authoritative consumers or experts by experience? User groups in health and social care

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This chapter examines a number of reasons for disputing the adequacy of a consumerist frame of reference for understanding the challenge presented to health and social care services by user and carer movements. Not only is the consumer as chooser an inadequate conceptualisation of the relationship between users and producers of welfare services, it is also a flawed strategy for empowerment and does not express the broad significance of the collective action that has developed over the last 40 years among users of welfare services. Collectively, service users have developed alternative ways of understanding disability, mental illness, and caregiving; have claimed the right to construct their own identities; and have unsettled taken-for-granted assumptions about social relations not only between providers and users of welfare services at the point of delivery, but also in the process of deliberation about social policies.

Keywords: carer movements; social care services; welfare services; social policy; mental illness

Chapter.  6243 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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