'Community participation' and 'bottom up planning' have become fashionable themes in international health circles. However, in the absence of sociocultural perspective these themes remain largely rhetoric. In this paper, a deprofessionalization of social science is advocated in the service of participatory research as a first step towards community involvement in primary health care. Deprofessionalization is suggested as an adjunct to, not a replacement for in-depth professional social science research. An exploratory community diagnosis of health project conducted in rural south India is described. During the project, lay researchers received rudimentary social science field training and collected data on health behaviour deemed important to health planners as well as the health concerns of the community. Illustrative data, generated by the project is presented on the rural poors' utilization of government health facilities, their attitudes towards Primary Health Centre staff, and their ideas about how a proposed community health worker scheme could best serve them.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science