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The consumer in public servicesChoice, values and difference$
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Richard Simmons, Martin Powell, and Ian Greener

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847421814

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847421814.001.0001

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

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

Chapter:
(p.219) Twelve Authoritative consumers or experts by experience? User groups in health and social care
Source:
The consumer in public services
Author(s):

Marian Barnes

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847421814.003.0012

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

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