Caring Peripheries: How care practitioners respond to processes of peripheralisation

Nienke van Pijkeren*, Iris Wallenburg, Hester van de Bovenkamp, S (Siri) Wiig, Roland Bal

*Corresponding author for this work

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The centralisation of acute health care is a key policy concern in many countries. Less attention has been given to the side effects of centralisation: peripheralisation, occurring mainly in rural areas and post-industrial towns. In this research, we start filling this gap by exploring how this trend of concentration of health care can contribute to a phenomenon referred to as ‘discursive peripheralisation’. This article contributes to the literature on discursive peripheralisation by focusing on how actors, in our case acute care practitioners, cope with or oppose such processes. We draw on empirical data from two healthcare regions in different geographical contexts in Norway and The Netherlands. In these regions, we zoom in on the work of care practitioners and how they, in relation to care organisations and local authorities, aim to organise care for patients in ‘the periphery’ and how this contributes to more diverse and alternative narratives and practices of health care in these areas. Our findings offer important insights for both rural and regional policy. We conclude that other narratives, for instance, about perceptions of quality of care should be considered to avoid too much emphasis on the disadvantages faced by peripheral areas, compared to their urban counterparts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-81
Number of pages18
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2024

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© 2023 The Authors. Sociologia Ruralis published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Society for Rural Sociology.


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