Power, empowerment and health

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Power, empowerment and health
Author(s) Tengland, Per-Anders
Date 2009
English abstract
“Empowerment” is a central concept in health promotion and public health, but also for “medical” disciplines like nursing and physiotherapy. Sometimes empowerment and health promotion are even seen as being synonymous. The concept is, however, also used in various other areas, such as social work and education, so empowerment appears to denote something more than working towards promoting health. An analysis of the concept supports this claim. Empowerment can be seen both as a goal, i.e. having control over the determinants of one’s quality of life, and as a means, i.e. working with people (individuals, groups, communities) in such a way as to support them in taking control over positive change processes. The aim of this paper is first to see in what sense empowerment is a form of power, and second, to see in what sense empowerment is a goal for health promotion, i.e. what empowerment has to do with health. Several aspects of power are discussed, such as “power to”, “power over”, and “power with”, and these different aspects of power are related to health (seen as a combination of ability and well-being). The main connection, it will argued, is that health as ability has to do with power in the sense of being able to influence and change the world. Health, then, is a major determinant of future health, but also a determinant of quality of life. So health, in this sense, can be seen as one aspect of empowerment (as a goal).
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Power to
Power over
Empowerment
Health
Well-being
Ability
Humanities/Social Sciences
Philosophy
Public health
Note XXIIth European Conference on Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care. Tübingen, Germany, August 19-22, 2009
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/9406 (link to this page)
Link http://www.espmh.cm-uj.krakow.pl/?q=node/94 (external link to related web page)

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