User participation policies in the Norwegian welfare context: An analysis of policy discourses

Ole Petter Askheim, Karen Christensen, Synnøve Fluge, Ingrid Guldvik

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This article argues that the social construction of user participation policies includes both differences and similarities regarding three user groups: older people, disabled people and people with mental health problems. The article is based on a historical discourse analysis of national documents in Norway. It points at a democracy/social rights discourse, based on the idea of social citizenship, as a common and historically stable discourse for all three user groups and relates this to the specific characteristics of Norwegian welfare policies. A contrasting consumer discourse, stressing users' consumer role and related to the impact of New Public Management reforms, is only evident in the case of older people and from the 1990s. A co-production/co-partnering discourse, stressing user/professional-partnership, is evident in the current policies directed at older people and those with mental health problems. Both the consumer and co-production discourse remain marginal in the case of disabled people.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)583-601
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

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