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Title: Socio-cultural explorations of self help in structured programmes for individuals with significant substance related concerns
Author: McGovern, William
ISNI:       0000 0004 7233 2477
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2017
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Self-help groups and self-help processes are widely studied and researched. However, empirical and scholarly interpretations of drug and alcohol self-help groups are dominated by the discourse that individuals are suffering from the disease of addiction. Or, that self-help process can be explained by focussing on the extent to which individuals surrender the “self” to their groups more formal programme of change. This thesis aims to build on these types of concerns but it has also been designed to explore and identify the ways and extent to which self-help groups and self-help processes are mediated by social and cultural concerns. In order to achieve the aims of this thesis, serendipitous ethnographic opportunities were taken to observe and engage with hard to reach self-help users as they congregated with others and 24 qualitative in depth interviews were conducted with respondents from traditional and non-traditional 12 step meetings and settings. Self-help groups then were essentially found to be micro cultural worlds and the factors that influence the self-concepts, perceptions and appreciations of users in them were complex and multi-faceted. Users of self-help were found to have developed a highly subjective “addicted” sense of self and identity in their groups. But rather than adhere to the traditional conventions of powerlessness and disease, respondents were also found to have developed skills and competences in self-help and self-help processes. In doing so they were able to derive meaning and purpose from using these competences and actively invested in different types of relationships. These types of revelations are read through the application of Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, social and other capitals as an intellectual and conceptual framework. This generated a more dynamic and relational discourse of self-help and self-help processes to emerge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available