Power, control, communities and health inequalities. Part II : measuring shifts in power

Ponsford, Ruth and Collins, Michelle and Egan, Matt and Halliday, Emma and Lewis, Sue and Orton, Lois and Powell, Kate and Barnes, Amy and Salway, Sarah and Townsend, Anne and Whitehead, Margaret and Popay, Jennie (2021) Power, control, communities and health inequalities. Part II : measuring shifts in power. Health Promotion International, 36 (5). ISSN 0957-4824

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In the health field, there is great interest in the role empowerment might play in reducing social inequalities in health. Empowerment is understood here as the processes of developing capabilities that individuals and/or communities need to exercise control over decisions and actions impacting on their lives and health. There is a fundamental problem, however, in identifying and measuring capabilities for collective control that emerge at the level of the collective, with much of the existing literature focusing on individual measures even where community-level processes are concerned. Collective measures need to capture the dynamics of interactions within and between groups, not simply aggregate individual-level measures. This article, Part 2 in a three-part series, takes up the challenge of identifying qualitative markers of capabilities for collective control. We applied the emancipatory power framework (EPF) reported in Part 1 of the series, to qualitative data generated during a longitudinal evaluation of a major English area-based empowerment initiative, the Big Local (BL). We identified empirical 'markers' of shifts towards greater collective control pertaining to each of the 'power' dimensions in the EPF-'power within', 'power with' and 'power to'-and markers of communities exercising 'power over' other institutions/community members. These markers can usefully be applied in the evaluation planning and evaluation of empowerment initiatives. Part 3 in the series uses these markers and a second analytical framework developed during our evaluation of BL to explore how power dynamics unfold in participatory spaces in BL neighbourhoods.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Health Promotion International
Additional Information:
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Health Promotion International following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Ruth Ponsford, Michelle Collins, Matt Egan, Emma Halliday, Sue Lewis, Lois Orton, Kate Powell, Amy Barnes, Sarah Salway, Anne Townsend, Margaret Whitehead, Jennie Popay, Power, control, communities and health inequalities. Part II: measuring shifts in power, Health Promotion International, 2021; 36, 5, 1290-1299 daaa019, https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daaa019 is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/36/5/1290/6056665
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? area-based initiativesevaluationhealth inequalitiescommunity empowermentcollective controlsocial determinants of healthhealth(social science)public health, environmental and occupational health ??
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Deposited On:
18 Feb 2021 13:30
Last Modified:
16 Jun 2024 00:37