The "User": Friend, Foe or Fetish? A Critical Exploration of User Involvement in Health and Social Care

Cowden, Stephen ORCID: 0000-0002-2549-8760 and Singh, Gurnam (2007) The "User": Friend, Foe or Fetish? A Critical Exploration of User Involvement in Health and Social Care. Critical Social Policy, 27 (1). pp. 5-23. doi:10.1177/0261018307072205

[img]
Preview
Text (Peer-reviewed version)
10321-Cowden-(2007)-Friend-foe-or-fetish-a-critical-exploration-of-user-involvement.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (178kB) | Preview

Abstract

"User Involvement" has become the new mantra in Public Services with professionals constantly being reminded that ‘user knows best’. The purpose of this paper is to ask where the preoccupation with "the User" comes from and to pose some questions about what "User Involvement" actually means. Within our paper we see three issues as central within this. The first is a consideration of the historical antecedents of the discourse of ‘user involvement’, focussing in on the struggles over British welfare that took place around the late 1970s-early 80s. This forms context from which we seek to understand and critique the New Labour project in relation the massive expansion of regulatory frameworks. We argue that, far from enabling the delivery of high quality integrated services that truly reflect the interests of current and future users, these policies represent the further commodification of basic human needs and welfare. Finally, it has become apparent the current “user” discourse has assumed contradictory manifestations, in particular the emergence of groupings of “professional users” who participate in the formation of state policy as “expert consultants”. We conclude by arguing for an approach in which user perspectives are neither privileged nor subjugated, but are situated in a process of creative critical dialogue with professionals, which is linked to the development of a concept of welfare driven by emancipatory rather than regulatory imperatives

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Empowerment; Ideology; User; User involvement
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology.
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology. > HV40-69 Social Work
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Stephen Cowden
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2021 16:05
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2021 16:15
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/10321

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.