In 1920 Margaret Sanger called voluntary motherhood “the key to the temple of liberty” and noted that women were “rising in fundamental revolt” to claim their right to…
In 1920 Margaret Sanger called voluntary motherhood “the key to the temple of liberty” and noted that women were “rising in fundamental revolt” to claim their right to determine their own reproductive fate (Rothman, 2000, p. 73). Decades later Barbara Katz Rothman reflected on the social, political and legal changes produced by reproductive-rights feminists since that time. She wrote: So the reproductive-rights feminists of the 1970s won, and abortion is available – just as the reproductive-rights feminists of the 1920s won, and contraception is available. But in another sense, we did not win. We did not win, could not win, because Sanger was right. What we really wanted was the fundamental revolt, the “key to the temple of liberty.” A doctor’s fitting for a diaphragm, or a clinic appointment for an abortion, is not the revolution. It is not even a woman-centered approach to reproduction (2000, p. 79).
Purpose – This chapter assesses the role of self-help groups within the emerging civil society in two transitional economies, Croatia and Slovenia, focusing on the impact of relationships with health or social care professionals and the state.
Methodology – Methods include participant observation, interviews, and document analysis of 31 groups studied intermittently from 2001 to 2007.
Findings – Self-help groups range from those three decades old to those dealing with “new social problems.” Groups, and the third sector generally, remain essentially dependent on the state. Few exist separately from formal service organizations. Those closely linked with medical institutions are challenged by state retrenchment and privatization. Others contend with funding instability, and Western models of non-profit development are expanding. Relationships with professionals are neither subservient nor independent; instead, groups act as corollaries and educators to the professional realm.
Implications, limitations, and value – Findings suggest more nuances in self-help groups' relations with the state and professionals than found in Western settings. This may illustrate both the potential and the limits of citizen involvement in new non-governmental sectors. It also demonstrates how relations between professionals and self-help groups depend on social and material relations well beyond the domain of systems of care. While specific findings cannot be generalized beyond the research settings, the study shows the importance of understanding such groups within social and political contexts. Contributions to civil society here included re-making public meanings, identities, and relations with professionalized systems. Further comparative assessment of self-help associations is essential to theory on the third sector in civil society.
This paper examines whether affiliation strategies used by social movement organizations to establish institutional linkages assure survival. Several streams within both…
This paper examines whether affiliation strategies used by social movement organizations to establish institutional linkages assure survival. Several streams within both social movement and organization theories suggest contrasting expectations. Two core research questions are proposed: how does strategic affiliation, as well as increasing legitimation, alter social movement organizations’ longevity, and how does the evolution of the movement condition these dynamics? Our answer focuses on the self-help/mutual-aid movement and the institutionalization of national self-help/mutual-aid organizations. Analyses comparing economic, political and symbolic means of survival at the population-of-organizations level and organizational level, and across the history of the movement, show that professional and political alliances and legitimation impact the longevity of self-help/mutual-aid organizations in unexpected ways. For instance, as the number of political alliances at the population level increases, the likelihood of organizational survival declines, although political alliances at the individual organizational level are beneficial for an organization. These relationships change dramatically as the movement matures. Implications for integrating social movement and organizations theories are discussed.
Attempts to nurture community self‐help in deprived neighbourhoods presently tend to pursue the “third sector” route of developing community‐based groups. Reporting data…
Attempts to nurture community self‐help in deprived neighbourhoods presently tend to pursue the “third sector” route of developing community‐based groups. Reporting data from recent UK government surveys of community involvement, however, this article uncovers how such a third sector approach promotes a form of community self‐help more reflective of the culture of engagement in affluent than deprived populations. If community self‐help is to be harnessed in ways that build on the existing culture of engagement in deprived neighbourhoods, then this article shows that the current third sector route will need to be complemented with a “fourth sector” approach that seeks to further develop informal forms of community self‐help (i.e., acts of one‐to‐one reciprocity(. The article concludes by outlining some possible policy initiatives that might be used to implement this fourth sector approach.
This article relates one aspect of an action research project on work related stress and mental health problems to its wider context. It is argued that self‐help/mutual…
This article relates one aspect of an action research project on work related stress and mental health problems to its wider context. It is argued that self‐help/mutual aid, including self‐management, could make an important contribution to tackling the current epidemic of work‐related stress in the UK and elsewhere. Initiatives such as the government's Work‐Life Balance campaign indicate that the policy context is appropriate. An overview of the causes, costs of, and policy responses to work‐related stress is followed by a discussion on the nature of self‐help/mutual aid and the benefits that the sharing of experiential knowledge can bring to participants. This includes a specific, structured form of self‐help: self‐management programmes as led and used by mental health user groups. We conclude that self‐help initiatives can make a valuable contribution to addressing work‐related stress if employers support them. Beyond simply ameliorating staff retention problems, the experiential learning communities that could be created could be an asset, particularly in seeking to change workplace cultures to minimise work‐related mental stresses.
The purpose of this paper is to present a qualitative analysis of the role of self-harm self-help groups from the perspective of group members.
A qualitative case study approach guided the research, which involved working with two self-harm self-help groups and all regularly attending members.
A thematic approach to the analysis of the findings indicates that self-harm self-help groups can provide a safe, non-judgemental space where those who self-harm can meet, listen and talk to others who share similar experiences for reciprocal peer support. Offering a different approach to that experienced in statutory services, the groups reduced members’ isolation and offered opportunities for learning and findings ways to lessen and better manage their self-harm.
This was a small-scale qualitative study, hence it is not possible to generalise the findings to all self-harm self-help groups.
The value of peers supporting one another, as a means of aiding recovery and improving well-being, has gained credence in recent years, but remains limited for those who self-harm. The findings from this research highlight the value of self-help groups in providing opportunities for peer support and the facilitative role practitioners can play in the development of self-harm self-help groups.
Self-harm self-help groups remain an underexplored area, despite such groups being identified as a valuable source of support by its members. This research provides empirical evidence, at an individual and group level, into the unique role of self-harm self-help groups.
This publication is based on a research thesis which examined self‐help ethnic minority organisations and their activities in order to construct an accurate picture of the…
This publication is based on a research thesis which examined self‐help ethnic minority organisations and their activities in order to construct an accurate picture of the library and information needs of their members. It identified the kinds of co‐operation that existed between self‐help ethnic minority organisations and public libraries and other relevant official agencies. A series of models for co‐operation that could take place between public libraries, other relevant agencies and self‐help organisations was constructed.
This paper analyzes a multidimensional model of organizational legitimacy, competencies, and resources in order to develop the linkage between institutional and…
This paper analyzes a multidimensional model of organizational legitimacy, competencies, and resources in order to develop the linkage between institutional and resource-based perspectives by systematically detailing relationships among these factors and organizational viability. The underlying mechanisms of isomorphism and market partitioning serve as a point of departure by which the effects on organizational persistence of two sociocultural processes, cultural (constitutive) legitimation and sociopolitical (regulative) legitimation, are distinguished. Using data on 589 national self-help/mutual-aid organizations, this chapter explores how isomorphism and market partitioning foster legitimacy and promote organizational viability. Results show that the more differentiated an organization’s core competencies and resources, the greater the sociopolitical legitimacy; the more isomorphic an organization’s competencies and resources, the greater the cultural legitimacy. The latter isomorphic processes, however, do not promote greater organizational viability. In fact, while isomorphism legitimates with respect to cultural recognition, it is heterogeneity, not homogeneity, that promotes organizational survival.
Self Help Services is a pioneering charity in how it champions personal experience of mental health and uses these experiences in the treatment of people living with…
Self Help Services is a pioneering charity in how it champions personal experience of mental health and uses these experiences in the treatment of people living with common mental health problems – anxiety, depression, phobias, and low self‐esteem issues. This paper aims to describe how the charity grew from one individual's journey with agoraphobia to being the main provider of primary care mental health services in the North West of England.
The paper charts the growth of Self Help Services over time, with a particular focus on its employment of people with personal mental health problems. It describes the experiences of its founder and Chief Officer and includes case studies of a user of its e‐therapy services and the charity's Informatics and Governance Lead.
The case studies illustrate how the charity has grown in both size and success as a result of harnessing the skills and experience of large numbers of staff and volunteers living with a mental health problem. The case studies illustrate that, rather than being an issue, these personal experiences are vital tools in helping others work through their own difficulties.
The paper provides a detailed overview of a charity which was unique when it was formed and now thrives as a result of its uniqueness. It provides other similar organisations with advice on lessons learnt along the way, and advice for individuals or groups looking to establish similar organisations.
This article discusses the labelling and location of self‐organising community groups ‐ ‘self‐help’, ‘peer support’ and ‘service user’. It notes the increasingly close…
This article discusses the labelling and location of self‐organising community groups ‐ ‘self‐help’, ‘peer support’ and ‘service user’. It notes the increasingly close relationship between these groups and statutory authorities, and how this relationship may put the benefits of the groups at risk. Historical, cultural and social factors are discussed to help explain differences and separate developments within African, Caribbean and other Black communities.