Subjectivity, learning and psychosocial health
Health promotion is regarded as a socio-cultural life-historical and biographical process that has unpredictable and non-linear processes, depending on the integration of health motivators and barriers in subjective everyday life experiences. To study health and illness based on this life-historical thinking involves focusing on learning processes in health, in which people exceed their experience horizons and become capable of undertaking what were previously 'impossible' actions in relation to different social and psychosocial dimensions. The research develops a theoretical understanding of the dynamics between the 'inner' and 'outer' aspects of the subject's attitude to their health, as well as how these aspects affect learning in relation to health.
In addition, the centre contributes with research into the relationship between social structures and people's psychosocial conditions. In this regard, the centre is concerned with how psychosocial problem complexes are understood, negotiated and tackled, including the institutional circumstances and knowledge rationalities, which people encounter. A particular focus area in this context is the increasing psychiatricization of people, conditions and the emergence of this and its implications.
Diversity, inclusion and exclusion in health - understandings of ethnicity, class, gender and generation
Efforts of earlier detection of phenomena associated with disease and health (screenings) and efforts to create genuine user-involvement and patient-oriented health services and treatments, have resulted in an increased focus on the need to consider health in different ways these recent years. Firstly, considerations taking account of user groups’ circumstances, everyday life and personal lifestyle, and secondly and not least, the need to highlight inequality, diversity and exclusionary processes in relation to health in culture and society general. More specifically in terms of the exercise of power, discrimination, stigmatization and lack of access and involvement in healthcare services.
Epidemiological research has been able to reveal significant dispersions and correlations between, for example, incidences of disease and health behaviours associated with significant, known demographic factors such as gender, age, marital and economic status, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity and similar categories, and not least shared relationships, i.e. intersections between these significant factors and categories. The research incorporates an inter-sectional perspective by focusing on the interaction between the subjects' diverse “concurrent categories”. A culture-centred approach to health is also included, where culture is perceived as a broad meaning system in interaction with the structural aspects.
Professional development, health care and involvement
The research within this area examines developments in the healthcare sector and how it affects professional development, the development of understanding and practices in healthcare work and in health education.
Research is conducted into how professions and healthcare institutions establish special competencies, divisions of labour and institutional practices based on professional knowledge, occupational boundaries, structural sector-boundaries and how the structural framework and current management tools shape the interaction with citizens and patients. We research various types of user/patient roles and positions and their circumstances.
Health promotion policy, planning, strategies and practices in municipalities and regions
This research area includes research in health promotion policy and planning within the State, municipalities and regions, as well as institutional practices and encounters between state and citizens. It also includes research into the impact of health promotion policies and interventions in society and for the health-promoting determinants in everyday life and the environment.
The research in health promoting interventions focuses especially on new types of governance and non-governmental policy initiatives regarding the allocation of responsibility and the direction for health promotion. The research area is concerned with the municipal and regional health promotion efforts, with particular focus on the relationships between the chosen approaches and the policy measures in municipalities and regions. We investigate how the health promotion measures progress and, how these are further on translated, practiced and acted upon among individuals and groups.
Research shows that the vast majority of the initiatives today are individualised. In relation to this, our research investigates, based on a holistic understanding of health, how the health-related behaviour of the participating citizens is embedded in a wider life context and structural conditions of everyday life. Furthermore, how this is influenced by health promotion efforts aimed at individuals and communities/networks social capital.
From the theoretical point of view of the research programme into empowerment and community-based health, an important theme is the citizens' scope for action and learning in the municipal and regional health promotion efforts, as well as in welfare development.
Health promotion from the perspective of the environment and everyday life
The research in this area is conducted partly from an everyday life perspective related to consumption, forms of practice of everyday life, culture and the environment. The focus here is on potentials for changes in a social and cultural context, and includes analyses of the relationships between working life and other spheres of life, including consumption, gender roles, social networks and time structures.
The research also takes place from an environmental perspective, where the focus is on the health and environmental aspects of different urbanisation, mobility and production strategies.
The environmental perspective has an analytical focus on what lies behind our lifestyle, i.e. on the socio-economic and socio-cultural conditions that form the framework for our eating habits, physical activity and for our construction of what constitutes a healthy life. Thus, urban development, housing models, mobility, industrial development strategies and the supply and distribution of goods are all related to the surroundings’ impact on our health, our diet and our consumption generally, and therefore constitute an important framework in this context for how citizens or consumers can act as healthy citizens in their everyday life.
However, the general trend in society is not towards tightening regulation, but towards more diversity and more options for 'healthy' choices, and greater responsibility is thus assigned to individual citizens through their consumption and personal life-style. We know, through our research that this freedom of choice is managed differently by different groups in society, depending on e.g. their socio-economic situation, gender and education level, which has consequences for a social inequality in health.