The meaning & process of empowerment : as perceived through the eyes of participants of elderly empowerment groups

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The meaning & process of empowerment : as perceived through the eyes of participants of elderly empowerment groups

 

Author: Chan, Ching-wa Jonathan
Title: The meaning & process of empowerment : as perceived through the eyes of participants of elderly empowerment groups
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1997
Subject: Older people -- China -- Hong Kong
Social work with older people -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: vi, 97, [5], v leaves ; 31 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1403363
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/321
Abstract: This study is intended to develop a substantive Grounded Theory on the process of empowerment for local elderly persons. The findings of this study would give the first insights of actual process of empowerment of which the elderly underwent. The elderly respondents in this study are from a disempowered past. They are, however, positively changed by the empowering group process they have engaged in, display the following salient characteristics: They are informative and critical-minded, they are assertive and developed a sense of self-efficacy. And they are capable in collective planning and action for goal attainment. Finally, they have a belief system that motivates them for further participation. It is found that the disempowered past of the elderly was due to effects of various disempowering forces: inadequacy in Government policies, disintegration of traditional social support network, and a general lack of channels through which people can participate in decision-making of policies which could affect their well-beings. On the contrary, there are mainly two sources of empowerment force working on the respondents to help them attain the level of empowerment they currently are. The first is a change in political structure and discourse over the last few years, enabling the emergence of a more open political culture and a slight increase in viable channels for the elders to express their views and exerted their rights. The second is the emergence of dedicated, mostly non-subvented services for elderly empowerment. Within this source there laid two important processes of empowerment: the initiation of the social workers in question and the empowering group process and collective actions where the elders got to make the decisions and carry it out. The situation is dynamic, however, as there is a tug-of-war between the disempowering forces and empowering forces. The result of which amounts to a summary effect: it affects the level of empowerment of the elderly, in terms of his or her economic power, political power, social power, and psychological power. It represents the overall ability of the elderly in control of, and influence events and institutions which affect their lives. Lack of retirement pension and a decent social security system (the economic disempowering forces) would decrease the elderly persons' economic power, while the reverse would enhance it. A continuing process of democratization (the political empowering force) would enhance the elderly persons' political power, while a more restrictive political atmosphere (the political disempowering force) generated by the 1997 transitionI would decrease it. And increased provision of empowerment-oriented services for elderly would increase the chance of an elder in getting it and experienced all the positive changes, including sense of self-efficacy (psychological empowerment) and development of alternative network of social support (social empowerment). While the lack of such provision would make more disempowered elders stay that way. Thus, the 'Level of Empowerment' for the elderly in question is the core category, linking all other categories in a web-like way. I 1997 Transition: Hong Kong was originally a Chinese territory before 1842, when British acquired it as part of the settlement with China after Britain's victory in the First Opium War. Hong Kong then existed as a separate territorial unit, which prospered into a vibrant society and an international finance center. In 1984 the governments of United Kingdom and Peoples' Republic of China reached agreement in Hong Kong's future when a Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong was initialled: Hong Kong would be revert to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997. The transition of authority from a capitalistic British colony to communist China had caused considerable worries and speculations among Hong Kong people. (Source: Miners, N. (1995) "The Government and Polities of Hong Kong" Chapter 1 and 3, 5th ed. Oxford University Press, USA)

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