The capacity, impact and challenge of service users' experiential knowledge

Phil Cotterell and Carolyn Morris

in Critical Perspectives on User Involvement

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427519
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305590 | DOI:
The capacity, impact and challenge of service users' experiential knowledge

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This chapter explores experiential knowledge, including the claims for such knowledge and evidence of its impact, along with major challenges that service users and professionals are faced with when accessing or working with it. Examples of experiential knowledge production and its validity claims in the setting of involvement in cancer care are focused on. Tensions, possibilities and limitations of group-orientated forums of ‘knowledge exchange’ are highlighted. Sites of involvement in health care can be places where differing knowledge collide and require sensitive negotiation. Nevertheless, the possibility for the development of a unique knowledge amongst service users in this setting is present. The chapter identifies the nature of experiential knowledge as well as the challenges faced, e.g. acknowledging the ‘cancer patient’ as expert and as the owner of a unique knowledge; the difficulties of collectivising knowledge; and the implicit structural impediments that act as a barrier to a sophisticated use of experiential knowledge.

Keywords: experiential knowledge; cancer; partnership

Chapter.  5676 words. 

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