‘He called me out of the blue’: An ethnographic exploration of contrasting temporalities in a social prescribing intervention

Gibson, Kate, Moffatt, Suzanne and Pollard, Tessa M. (2022) ‘He called me out of the blue’: An ethnographic exploration of contrasting temporalities in a social prescribing intervention. Sociology of Health and Illness, 44 (7). pp. 1149-1166. ISSN 0141-9889

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13482


Social prescribing, a way of connecting patients to local services, is central to the NHS Personalised Care agenda. This paper employs ethnographic data, generated with 19 participants between November 2018 and July 2020, to explore the socio-temporal relations shaping their experiences of a local social prescribing intervention. Our focus is on the ways in which the intervention synchronised with the multitude of shifting, complex and often contradictory ‘timespaces’ of our participants. Our focus on the temporal rhythms of everyday practice allows us to trace a tension between the linearity and long horizon of the intervention and the oft contrasting timeframes of participants, sometimes leading to a mismatch that limited the intervention's impact. Further, we observed an interventional ‘drift’ from continuity towards unsupported signposting and ‘out-of-the-blue’ contacts which favour the temporality of the intervention. We demonstrate a need for intervention planning to be flexible to multiple, often conflicting, temporalities. We argue that health interventions must account for the temporal relations lived by the people they seek to support.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Public Health Research Programme, Community Groups and Health Promotion (project reference 16/122/33).
Uncontrolled Keywords: (a)synchronicity, ethnography, health interventions, linearity, time
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2022 14:29
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 14:45
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/50003

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