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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Hysteresis–or the mismatch of expectations and possibilities among relatives in a transforming health care system.

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When a person experiences a severe stroke, their relatives must assume the role of partners in the rehabilitation process. Drawing on Bourdieu’s field theory, we investigated the potential gap between the subjective expectations of relatives in terms of the assistance and care they can offer patients with severe brain injuries and the objective constraints of a healthcare field. Using data from observations, as well as interviews with relatives and official documents, our study shows how some relatives, reliant on their habitus, bring to their collaboration with healthcare professionals an expectation that the healthcare field will be able to take care of their multiple individual needs. However, due to hysteresis–a gap between their dispositions and the objective possibilities of the transformed healthcare field–these relatives are not equipped to recognise, grasp and occupy their new field position. We conclude that Bourdieu’s theoretical concept of hysteresis may help to understand how changes in the healthcare field may lead to a mismatch between the field and the habitus manifested in interactions between patients, relatives and healthcare professionals, so that the ill-adjusted habitus of relatives leads to missed chances in relation to the opportunities objectively offered by the field.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Volume28
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)31-44
Number of pages14
ISSN1446-1242
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • Bourdieu, expectations, hysteresis, Relatives, stroke, welfare system

ID: 58971049