Report Open Access
The opencare project explores how communities of any kind provide health and social care, when neither states nor businesses can or will serve them. Data are gathered from an online forum where individuals share and discuss their experiences of community-provided care. At the time of writing, the forum consists of 657 discussion threads, normally started by a long-form post, with 3,910 posts, authored by 336 unique informants. These were uploaded onto the online forum in the period between January 2016 and October 2017. This corpus was enriched with 6,299 annotations, employing 1,282 unique codes.
This ethnographic report outlines key findings from opencare. It is titled “Collective Autonomy” because the central finding that spans the project topics is that people, when seeking care, need to be empowered to solve their own problems but need a community-based framework in order to most successfully do so. Put another way, people need networks of other people to teach them how to solve their own problems and live autonomously. Solutions that treat people as dependent and helpless, or that remove them from a community context, are likely to fail. Instead, it is the solutions that connect people with others with compatible skills, or strengthen care networks in communities, that have been the most useful to people seeking care outside of existing health and social care systems.