Chronic condition self-management is a social practice

Marika Franklin, Karen Willis, Sophie Lewis, Lorraine Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Self-management is widely promoted in Western health care policies as a way to address the impact of increasing rates of chronic conditions on health care systems. Mostly informed by psychological theories, self-management frameworks and interventions tend to target individual behaviours as demarcated from the many aspects of social life shaping these behaviours. Using Bourdieu’s theory of practice, we develop four propositions for a relational and socially situated (re)conceptualisation of self-management. First, self-management is a field with its own distinctive logics of practice; second, self-management goals are social practices, emerging through co-constituted patient–professional interactions; third, self-management is energised by legitimised capital; and fourth, what goals feel possible are shaped through embodied knowledge and lived experience (habitus), linked to capital. Collectively these propositions enable focus on both the meanings and resources patients and professionals bring to self-management, along with the dynamic and relational ways goals are produced through patient–professional interactions within the broader field of health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-231
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number1
Early online date26 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Bourdieu
  • chronic conditions
  • goal-setting
  • patient–professional interactions
  • self-management
  • theory


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