- Bridging boundaries: the concept of 'citizenship' as a boundary object in mental healthcare
- Medische Antropologie
- Pages (from-to)
- Issue number
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
For some time now, Dutch mental healthcare has framed its ideals regarding the societal position of its clients in terms of ‘citizenship’. Different definitions of citizenship exist, which would entail different practical goals for one and the same context. In mental healthcare, however, a concept of citizenship is used without discussing its definition. So what function does the concept of citizenship perform in mental healthcare? This article investigates this question by studying a leading Dutch journal, which functions as a forum for professionals, researchers and policy makers to debate the practice and ideals of mental healthcare. By analysing the function of the concept of citizenship in the articles in this journal, we show that one of the advantages of ‘citizenship’ over other concepts is that ‘citizenship’ can function as a boundary object. ‘Citizenship’ is sufficiently heterogeneous and malleable to encompass a large variety of functions, which can be used to strive for manifold, sometimes even conflicting goals in mental healthcare.
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