The notion of partnership is increasingly adopted as a sine qua non for the successful resolution of strategic problems in the field of human services. In this paper, I examine Québec's recent mental health policy and its operational definition of the concept. I then suggest some of the roots and reasons behind this province's adoption of le partenariat as the basis for policy. I suggest that it is a response to four key strategic problems: (1) the exhaustion of resources and allocation of losses; (2) the loss of faith in government and the consequent need to redefine the role of the state; (3) the loss of faith in professional knowledge and the increasingly forceful voice of alternative and “psychiatric survivor” groups; (4) the problem of overload in pluralist and competitive democracy and, related to this, the ubiquitous search for consensus and frictionless solutions. I conclude that in adopting the language of partnership, policymakers in Québec and elsewhere are being seduced by the possibilities of neocorporatist ideas applied to the management of human services.
Françoise Boudreau; Partnership as a New Strategy in Mental Health Policy: The Case of Québec. J Health Polit Policy Law 1 April 1991; 16 (2): 307–329. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03616878-16-2-307
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