Service Users as Consumers

  • Richard Hugman


Accompanying the commodification of health and welfare, in which professionals are to be seen as producers, is the reformulation of service users as consumers. Indeed, it could be seen as axiomatic that if the service in question becomes a product (a good or commodity) then the user of the service must become a consumer of that product. So the claims which have been made about consumerism frequently make reference to the desirability of seeing the relationship between services and service users in this way, not as an outcome but as an integral part of the process of commodification. That is, unless both professionals and service users themselves see service users as consumers, with attendant expectations about rights to standards of service, then the project of reformulating social welfare as production will be incomplete. Therefore, consumerism is a necessary part of the overall reconstruction of social welfare (Walsh, 1994).


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Copyright information

© Richard Hugman 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Hugman
    • 1
  1. 1.Curtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia

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