Personal recovery and socio-structural disadvantage: a critical conceptual review

Karadzhov, D. (2021) Personal recovery and socio-structural disadvantage: a critical conceptual review. Health, (doi: 10.1177/13634593211014250) (PMID:33962518) (Early Online Publication)

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Despite its seeming breadth and diversity, the bulk of the personal (mental health) recovery literature has remained strangely ‘silent’ about the impact of various socio-structural inequalities on the recovery process. Such an inadequacy of the empirical literature is not without consequences since the systematic omission or downplaying, at best, of the socio-structural conditions of living for persons with lived experience of mental health difficulties may inadvertently reinforce a reductionist view of recovery as an atomised, individualised phenomenon. Motivated by those limitations in extant scholarship, a critical literature review was conducted to identify and critique relevant research to problematise the notion of personal recovery in the context of socio-structural disadvantage such as poverty, homelessness, discrimination and inequalities. The review illuminates the scarcity of empirical research and the paucity of sociologically-informed theorisation regarding how recovery is shaped by the socio-structural conditions of living. Those inadequacies are especially pertinent to homelessness research, whereby empirical investigations of personal recovery have remained few and undertheorised. The gaps in the research and theorising about the relational, contextual and socio-structural embeddedness of recovery are distilled. The critical review concludes that personal recovery has remained underresearched, underproblematised and undertheorised, especially in the context of homelessness and other forms of socio-structural disadvantage. Understanding how exclusionary social arrangements affect individuals’ recovery, and the coping strategies that they deploy to negotiate those, is likely to inform anti-oppressive interventions that could eventually remove the structural constraints to human emancipation and flourishing.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant 690954.
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Karadzhov, Dr Dimitar
Authors: Karadzhov, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Health
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7196
Published Online:07 May 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author
First Published:First published in Health 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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