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Title: Empowerment, young people and health
Author: Spencer, Grace
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
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This study has examined concepts of empowerment as they relate to young people's health. Beginning with an analysis of recent theories of power, the thesis offers a critical exploration of the conceptualisation of empowerment and identifies how current uses of the term appear to have moved away from many of their original theoretical underpinnings. Identifying these theoretical tensions provided the impetus for an empirical enquiry which sought to critically question the relationship between empowerment and young people's health. The goal of the investigation was to reveal the possibilities for, and limitations of, empowerment among young people. Informed by an interpretivist epistemology and drawing upon ethnographic methods, data were collected from young people aged 15-16 years through focus group discussions, individual interviews and observational data in a school and surrounding community settings. Themes drawn from the research were analysed for their implications for 'emic' conceptualisations of health and empowerment. Key findings pointed to young people's preference for more positive understandings of young people and their health. Participants described how dominant perceptions of young people as 'immature' and 'risky' negatively impacted on their health; shaping subsequent possibilities for, and limitations of, their empowerment. Based on study findings and informed by Steven Lukes' (2005) tripartite perspective on power, the thesis offers a new conceptual framework for understanding the concept of empowerment and its relationship to young people's health.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available