SHSSW Seminar Series: Power, Social Capital and Mental Health: Some Theoretical and Practical Reflections
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SHSSW Seminar Series: Power, Social Capital and Mental Health: Some Theoretical and Practical Reflections

SHSSW Seminar Series: Power, Social Capital and Mental Health: Some Theoret...

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King Henry Building

Room 0.02

Portsmouth, United Kingdom

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It is with great pleasure that we invite you to attend our October lunchtime Research Seminar at the School of Health Sciences and Social Work. This is the first of the new academic year and will be held on Thursday 20th October 2016 at 12pm til 2pm in King Henry building, room 0.02.

We have invited Dr Kieron Hatton and Mr Lawrence Taylor to give a talk on:

"Power, social capital and mental health: Some theoretical and practical reflections"

For further details, please see the short abstract and biography below.

A sandwich lunch will be available in King Henry building room 3.14 prior to seminar starting at 11.30am.

These seminars can be highly attended and therefore it is crucial that you pre-book your place. Please book your place as soon as possible. Any questions regarding the seminar series, then please email shssw@port.ac.uk

Biography:

Lawrence Taylor - survivor of Mental Health Services, qualified as social worker, became substance misuse worker in Portsmouth/Hampshire before becoming manager of Hampshire Substance Misuse services. Employed part-time as associate lecturer in SHSSW.

Dr Kieron Hatton, Principal Lecturer in Social Work and Social Care. Been with University since 1992. Has written extensively on contemporary social work and European traditions of social work. Currently researching a) service user involvement in social work education and b) the experience of school excluded young people. A member of the Global Health Research group in SHSSW

Abstract:

There has been an evolving literature around the implications of developing social capital as a way to tackle mental distress and mental health/well-being since the early 2000’s. This literature recognised that mental well-being was impacted upon by a range of factors including inequalities in morbidity and social class. The inter-relationship of sociological, cultural and psychological factors in mental well-being was increasingly recognised and it was suggested that a possible solution to  the problems people face around mental well-being could be found in the development of social capital which it has been suggested has four key elements: collective efficacy; social trust/reciprocity; participation in civil society organisations; and social inclusion and social integration (McKenzie, Whitley, Welch, 2015). Such an optimistic view of the potential of social capital to reshape people’s lived experience has been challenged by a number of others including within a commentary in the Lancet (2003). However, it has been suggested that health, and in this case, social care policies can build and strengthen social capital if they give attention to both the cognitive and structural aspects of that process.

While we welcome this broader, holistic view of how social capital can be actualised we would also suggest that power relations are an important, and often under-theorised, element of any such developments. We suggest that power is often expressed in these discourses in a one or uni-dimensional way. We draw on Bourdieu’s concept of ‘symbolic power’ and Foucault’s  work on the multi-dimensionality of power and the need to focus on the potential of people without power to change their situation to expand this understanding of social capital. We argue that this analysis can underestimate the capacity of people to make change and to exhibit agency.

We then develop a framework to understand social capital which we apply directly to the experience of people using mental health services in a local authority in the south of England between 2012 -15. This project replaced care management and a focus on eligibility criteria with a focus on recovery, through a negotiated exit from the service from day one. Ownership was therefore transferred from the provider to the user at the outset. We suggest that this work demonstrates the potential that users of mental health services have to improve their own access to social capital but also to those sharing their experiences and the wider community.

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Portsmouth, United Kingdom

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