Resident councils between lifeworld and system: Is there room for communicative action?

  • Baur V
  • Abma T
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In long-term care facilities, the participation of older people relates to individual care provision (individual level) and to policy decisions that affect all residents in a care organization (collective level). In the Netherlands, resident councils are set up in order to improve resident participation on a collective level. However, our research shows that managers and resident councils are faced with mutual frustration and ineffective interaction. This article investigates the extent to which Habermasian communicative action (herrschaftsfreie Kommunikation) between resident councils and managers in residential elderly care is actually possible by examining the interaction between resident councils and managers in two case studies. We conclude that resident councils find themselves between lifeworld and system. There is communicative action between resident councils and managers, but it is easily dominated by strategic action. Therefore, space for communicative action needs to be deliberately created in order to support resident council participation and influence. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Communication
  • Habermas
  • Participation
  • Resident councils
  • Residential care homes

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  • V. E. Baur

  • T. A. Abma

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