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The power of symbolic capital in patient and public involvement in health research.
Health Expect. 2017 10; 20(5):836-844.HE

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Policy-makers and health research funders increasingly require researchers to demonstrate that they have involved patients in the design and conduct of research. However, the extent to which patients and public have the power to get involved on an equal footing is dependent on their economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital.

OBJECTIVE

To explore power relations in patient and public involvement (PPI) in research, particularly how patients may wield symbolic capital to develop a more equal relationship.

METHODS

Narrative interviews with a maximum variation sample of 38 people involved as patients, carers or public in health research, analysed thematically.

FINDINGS

Symbolic capital may be demonstrated in a range of ways (sometimes alongside or in the absence of other forms of capital): illness experience, technical illness knowledge and the challenging outsider. Symbolic capital is unstable and dependent on others for recognition and legitimacy. Nonetheless, participants identify a gradual shift in power relations over time.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

Research into PPI has been conceptually and theoretically poor, limiting our understanding of its mechanisms and wider contextual elements. Our findings demonstrate the importance of reflecting on the forms of power and capital wielded by the health research community, and of acknowledging the way in which PPI is challenging the status quo. As one of the first papers to conceptualize how different forms of symbolic capital operate and their critical role in challenging the balance of power, our findings may help researchers better plan their PPI activities and reflect on their own power.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Health Experiences Research Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford, UK.Health Experiences Research Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.Health Experiences Research Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.WMS-Royal College of Nursing Research Institute, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

27885770

Citation

Locock, Louise, et al. "The Power of Symbolic Capital in Patient and Public Involvement in Health Research." Health Expectations : an International Journal of Public Participation in Health Care and Health Policy, vol. 20, no. 5, 2017, pp. 836-844.
Locock L, Boylan AM, Snow R, et al. The power of symbolic capital in patient and public involvement in health research. Health Expect. 2017;20(5):836-844.
Locock, L., Boylan, A. M., Snow, R., & Staniszewska, S. (2017). The power of symbolic capital in patient and public involvement in health research. Health Expectations : an International Journal of Public Participation in Health Care and Health Policy, 20(5), 836-844. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.12519
Locock L, et al. The Power of Symbolic Capital in Patient and Public Involvement in Health Research. Health Expect. 2017;20(5):836-844. PubMed PMID: 27885770.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The power of symbolic capital in patient and public involvement in health research. AU - Locock,Louise, AU - Boylan,Anne-Marie, AU - Snow,Rosamund, AU - Staniszewska,Sophie, Y1 - 2016/11/24/ PY - 2016/10/13/accepted PY - 2016/11/26/pubmed PY - 2018/6/5/medline PY - 2016/11/26/entrez KW - Bourdieu KW - patient and public involvement KW - power KW - qualitative research SP - 836 EP - 844 JF - Health expectations : an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy JO - Health Expect VL - 20 IS - 5 N2 - BACKGROUND: Policy-makers and health research funders increasingly require researchers to demonstrate that they have involved patients in the design and conduct of research. However, the extent to which patients and public have the power to get involved on an equal footing is dependent on their economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital. OBJECTIVE: To explore power relations in patient and public involvement (PPI) in research, particularly how patients may wield symbolic capital to develop a more equal relationship. METHODS: Narrative interviews with a maximum variation sample of 38 people involved as patients, carers or public in health research, analysed thematically. FINDINGS: Symbolic capital may be demonstrated in a range of ways (sometimes alongside or in the absence of other forms of capital): illness experience, technical illness knowledge and the challenging outsider. Symbolic capital is unstable and dependent on others for recognition and legitimacy. Nonetheless, participants identify a gradual shift in power relations over time. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Research into PPI has been conceptually and theoretically poor, limiting our understanding of its mechanisms and wider contextual elements. Our findings demonstrate the importance of reflecting on the forms of power and capital wielded by the health research community, and of acknowledging the way in which PPI is challenging the status quo. As one of the first papers to conceptualize how different forms of symbolic capital operate and their critical role in challenging the balance of power, our findings may help researchers better plan their PPI activities and reflect on their own power. SN - 1369-7625 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/27885770/The_power_of_symbolic_capital_in_patient_and_public_involvement_in_health_research_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.12519 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -