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Interrogating power: the case of arts and mental health in community projects

Lawthom, Rebecca and Sixsmith, Judith and Kagan, Carolyn (2007) Interrogating power: the case of arts and mental health in community projects. Journal of community & applied social psychology, 17 (4). pp. 268-279. ISSN 1052-9284

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In this paper, we use the multi-dimensional model of power to interrogate arts and mental health community based projects. Using data retrospectively gathered during a series of participative evaluations, we re-analyse the data focusing on the ways in which power is located and negotiated across levels of analysis and multiple ecological domains. Evidence from the evaluations is richly presented illustrating power at the micro, meso and macro level. Whilst the model offers a rich reading of power, it is difficult to operationalize historically. Moreover, the static nature of the model fails to adequately capture the multiplicity of sometimes polar positions adopted. Engaging in a particular framework of community psychology, we argue that this project may be seen as part of a wider prefigurative action research agenda. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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