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.
- chronic conditions
- patient–professional interactions