Managing Uncertainty Through Participation

  • Louise Potvin


Participation enjoys a very special status in health promotion discourse. Conceptualised both as a process and a valued outcome, it is often viewed as a defining feature and a key principle of health promotion (Robertson & Minkler, 1994; Rootman, Goodstadt, Potvin & Springett, 2001). Taking advantage of an undisputable position as a cardinal value, the role of participation has rarely been critically examined in relation to health promotion practice and its contribution to public health. The questions regarding the role of participation and how, in practice, practitioners can facilitate and support its emergence, have not been given satisfactory answers. Answers to these crucial questions can only result from a theoretical understanding of what participation entails in terms of action in the social situations of health promotion interventions. Theorizing on the role of participation in health promotion and on the social processes at play when it occurs is a prerequisite to reframing participation as a professional practice rather than as an ideology (see Pelikan, Chapter 6), and to develop appropriate procedures that can foster the conditions for effective participation.


Health Promotion Public Participation Negotiation Process Translation Process Social Space 
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  • Louise Potvin

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