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The latent function of ‘responsibility for one's health’ in Swedish healthcare priority-setting
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
University of Linköping.
2012 (English)In: Health Sociology Review, ISSN 1446-1242, Vol. 21, no 1, 36-46 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Applying Luhmann's theoretical framework, this article analyses the function of the notion 'responsibility for one's health' in prioritization in Swedish healthcare. A document called 'Ethical Platform' was adopted in 1997 in order to guide decisions about prioritization. Evaluations deemed it as a failure. Against its official purpose, we argue that this document is no failure as it has the latent function of protecting the credibility of the self-description of the Swedish political system as a highly inclusive and caring welfare-state. Since prioritization implies exclusion it poses a threat for this self-description.

The responsibility principle, suggested in 2007 as an improvement for the platform, has the latent function of helping overcoming the contradiction between the self-description of the welfare-state (inclusion) and prioritization (exclusion). While inclusion into healthcare is still offered for everybody (respect), this right becomes conditional when citizens are regarded as agents who account for their unhealthy lifestyle (responsibility).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 21, no 1, 36-46 p.
Keyword [en]
latent function, Luhmann, healthcare prioritisation, responsibility, sociology, welfare-state
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology; Health Care Research
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-173171DOI: 10.5172/hesr.2012.889ISI: 000303029600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-173171DiVA: diva2:516817
Available from: 2012-04-19 Created: 2012-04-19 Last updated: 2012-05-29Bibliographically approved

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Schirmer, Werner
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