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Empowerment - really?

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by

Anna Byrom

on 12 May 2012

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Transcript of Empowerment - really?

Empowerment Individual Community Aims and outcomes: 1. understand the concept of power and how it impacts upon social settings e.g. maternity services
2. appreciate the definitions of empowerment and disempowerment
3. have awareness of how individuals, families and midwives can be empowered
4. have the ability to apply theoretical concepts of empowerment to practical scenarios. notions of power: Definitions of social power: What gives us power? sources of power:
economic - wealth
knowledge
delegated authority (democracy)
force
celebrity
persuasion
ascribed (assumed, tradition - borrowed) Individual power self authority self-awareness self- control liberty self-determinism Who needs to be empowered? The theory of empowerment confirms the connection between the private and the political.

It analyzes individual issues in social life politically.
The individual interprets the politics of her life on the basis of the knowledge available to her about political achievements in the social domain.
In the Western democracies, people are conscious of certain social values. They know that there exists a fundamental demand for autonomy and free independent functioning; and also that freedom and responsibility co-exist socially in a certain balance.
Although people are not free in any absolute sense of the word, they are supposed to be free from limitations and conditions of exploitation, inequality and oppression. The potential for empowerment, like one’s very humanity, exists in everyone, and the ability to make a difference is a component of human existence human rights: it's a matter of Disempowering social processes are responsible for creating a sense of powerlessness among people who belong to groups that suffer from stigma and discrimination. A sense of powerlessness leads to a lack of self-worth, to self-blame, to indifference towards and alienation from the environment, beside inability to act for oneself and growing dependence on social services and specialists for the solution of problems in one’s life. Crawford Shearer (2009) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/eutils/elink.fcgi?dbfrom=pubmed&retmode=ref&cmd=prlinks&id=19345857 what factors are needed to enable someone to feel empowered? Positional power
Also called "legitimate power", it is the power of an individual because of the relative position and duties of the holder of the position within an organization. Legitimate power is formal authority delegated to the holder of the position. It is usually accompanied by various attributes of power such as uniforms, offices etc. This is the most obvious and also the most important kind of power.

Referent power
Referent power is the power or ability of individuals to attract others and build loyalty. It's based on the charisma and interpersonal skills of the power holder. A person may be admired because of specific personal trait, and this admiration creates the opportunity for interpersonal influence.

Expert power
Expert power is an individual's power deriving from the skills or expertise of the person and the organisation's needs for those skills and expertise. Unlike the others, this type of power is usually highly specific and limited to the particular area in which the expert is trained and qualified.

Reward power
Reward power depends on the ability of the power wielder to confer valued material rewards, it refers to the degree to which the individual can give others a reward of some kind such as benefits, time off, desired gifts, promotions or increases in pay or responsibility. This power is obvious but also ineffective if abused.

Coercive power
Coercive power is the application of negative influences. It includes the ability to demote or to withhold other rewards. The desire for valued rewards or the fear of having them withheld that ensures the obedience of those under power. Coercive power tends to be the most obvious but least effective form of power as it builds resentment and resistance from the people who experience it. French & Raven 1959 Five bases of power Work-sheet Activity 1.... Power is a measure of an 'entity's' ability to control its environment, including the behavior of other 'entities'.
The term authority is often used for power perceived as legitimate by the social structure.
Power can be seen as evil or unjust, but the exercise of power is accepted as endemic to humans as social beings.
often the study of power is referred to as 'politics'. Who holds the power in our society? Balance of power Because power operates both relationally and reciprocally, sociologists speak of the balance of power between parties to a relationship: all parties to all relationships have some power: the sociological examination of power concerns itself with discovering and describing the relative strengths: equal or unequal, stable or subject to periodic change. Global power Do you feel empowered? Disempowering social processes are responsible for creating
a sense of powerlessness among people who belong to
groups that suffer from stigma and discrimination. A sense
of powerlessness leads to a lack of self-worth, to self-blame,
to indifference towards and alienation from the environment,
beside inability to act for oneself and growing dependence
on social services and specialists for the solution of problems
in one’s life. Empowerment is a transition from this passive situation to
a more active situation of control. The need for it is part of
the realization of one’s very humanity, so much so that one
could say that a person who is powerless with regard to his
life and his environment is not realizing his innate human
potential. Since the sources of powerlessness are rooted in
social processes that disempower entire populations, the
empowerment process aims to influence the oppressed human
agency and the social structure within the limitations and
possibilities in which this human agency exists and reacts. activity - as midwives we are considered to be the embodiment of empowerment - being 'with woman' yet the culture in the NHS is largely seen as oppressive fostering levels of horizontal violence and medical dominance How can midwives empower if they are disempowered themselves? Practice point: Women-centred or woman-centred? In woman centred care the locus of control is shifted away from the institution and professionals to the woman herself Woman centred care is a concept. It implies that midwifery: focuses on the woman's individual needs, aspirations and expectations, rather than the needs of the institution or professionals
recognises the need for women to have choice, control and continuity from a known caregiver
encompasses the needs of the baby, the woman's family and other people important to the woman, as defined and negotiated bu the woman herself
follows the woman across the interface of community and acute settings
addresses social emotional, physicalpsychological, spiritual and cultural needs and expectations
recognises the woman's expertise in decision making Question to ponder:
is power given or taken? Work sheet activity 3 -
please watch the following 2 video clips of Martin Luther King and Adolf Hilter and make comments on your work-sheet. Watch these two video clips and think about how important words can influence the balance of power....... What power do you hold in your roles within society? Work-sheet Activity 2.... Think about women and families in our care. What enhances or impedes their individual power?

It might be worth considering your vulnerable group. Click on some of the videos here to explore some of the global issues work on activities 4 and 5 from the workbook
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