The current discussion about participation is taken up by the case of health promotion. So far, sociological approaches have deconstructed participative practices within health promotion as a new form of governance. To antagonize the instrumentalization of participation a theoretical foundation of the concept is needed. By means of sociological systems theory health promotion is reconstructed as a communicative practice whose success relies in its ability to resolve three improbabilities (addressability, understanding, acceptance). Thereby, participation is identified as strategy to ensure that communicative offers are more familiar to the cultural context of the target group (redundancy) and carry a moment of surprise with them (variety) – both mechanisms are central to the success of communication. In reference to systems theory a definition is proposed that distinguishes participation in decision-making processes according to the time, factual and social dimension.
Bibliographical noteThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11614-011-0022-2
- Health Promotion Systems