Relational welfare : a socially just response to co-creating health and wellbeing for all
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionHeimburg, D. V. & Ness, O. (2020). Relational Welfare: A socially just response to co-creating health and well-being for all. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. doi: 10.1177/1403494820970815
Aims: Contemporary approaches to pursuing public value and the vision of health and wellbeing for all have evolved notably in the past few decades, with distinct approaches termed ‘co-creation’ and ‘health promotion’ gaining traction. This article explores a critique of ongoing paradigmatic shifts in public health and the public sector, focusing on cross-fertilisation between co-creation and the promotion of health and wellbeing. Drawing on Nancy Fraser’s claims for social justice through redistribution, recognition and representation to achieve participatory parity, we discuss a need for transformative change to achieve societal goals of creating health and wellbeing for all, leaving no one behind. Conclusions: Health promotion and co-creation converge in a quest for active citizenship through participation, as well as embracing a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. However, inequity in such processes, as well as health and wellbeing outcomes, are still persistent and contradictory to health promotion aims. This article argues that radically attending to human relationships and our dependency on other humans as a ‘collective’ need to be placed at the core of future-forming social construction of public and democratic institutions to allow the ongoing cross-fertilisation between health promotion and co-creation to work. Responding to this calls for transformation, the article presents a framework for developing a relational approach to welfare. The framework advocates for ‘relational welfare’, which captures the intersection of the welfare state, democracy and human relationships attending to social justice, capabilities and health and wellbeing for all as key public values in societal development.