Social participation within a context of political violence: implications for the promotion and exercise of the right to health in guatemala
2009 (English)In: Health and Human Rights: An International Journal, ISSN 1079-0969, Vol. 11, no 1, 37-48 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Social participation has been understood in many different ways, and there are eventypologies classifying participation by the degree of a population’s control in decisionmaking. Participation can vary from a symbolic act, which does not involve decisionmaking, to processes in which it constitutes the principal tool for redistributing powerwithin a population. This article argues that analyzing social participation from a perspectiveof power relations requires knowledge of the historical, social, and economicprocesses that have characterized the social relations in a specific context. Applyingsuch an analysis to Guatemala reveals asymmetrical power relations characterized bya long history of repression and political violence. The armed conflict during the secondhalf of the 20th century had devastating consequences for a large portion of thepopulation as well as the country’s social leadership. The ongoing violence resulted innegative psychosocial effects among the population, including mistrust toward institutionsand low levels of social and political participation. Although Guatemala madeprogress in creating spaces for social participation in public policy after signing thePeace Accords in 1996, the country still faces after-effects of the conflict. One importanttask for the organizations that work in the field of health and the right to healthis to help regenerate the social fabric and to rebuild trust between the state and itscitizens. Such regeneration involves helping the population gain the skills, knowledge,and information needed in order to participate in and affect formal political processesthat are decided and promoted by various public entities, such as the legislative andexecutive branches, municipal governments, and political parties. This process alsoapplies to other groups that build citizenship through participation, such as neighborhoodorganizations and school and health committees.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Harvard School of Public Health , 2009. Vol. 11, no 1, 37-48 p.
Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Research subject Public health
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-59846OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-59846DiVA: diva2:556937