Empowerment in healthcare policy making: Three domains of substantive controversy

Luca Chiapperino, Per Anders Tengland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper distinguishes between the uses of empowerment across different contexts in healthcare policy and health promotion, providing a model for the ethical and political scrutiny of those uses. We argue that the controversies currently engendered by empowerment are better understood by means of a historical distinction between two concepts of empowerment, namely, what we call the radical empowerment approach and the new wave of empowerment. Building on this distinction, we present a research agenda for ethicists and policy makers, highlighting three domains of controversy raised by the new wave of empowerment, namely: (1) the relationship between empowerment and paternalistic interferences on the part of professionals; (2) the evaluative commitment of empowerment strategies to the achievement of health-related goals; and (3) the problems arising from the emphasis on responsibility for health in recent uses of empowerment. Finally, we encourage the explicit theorisation of these moral controversies as a necessary step for the development and implementation of ethically legitimate empowerment processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-215
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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