Since empowerment entered the healthcare world, no sufficiently shared conceptualization has been produced yet. This essay aims at building a theoretical bridge amongst the contributions proposed so far by numerous scholars, leaning on a vast international literature. In delivering a definition, that encompasses several aspects, not always considered jointly by other researchers, it stresses, in particular, one aspect which until now has found few room in the debate, namely the fluidity and fluctuatingness connected to the phenomenon. In the second part, the essay proposes a typology of possible outcomes, by crossing two dimensions concerning the individuals and the governmental social action, asserting that only when individual pro-activity matches with a present social policy, we can find empowerment really on, while in others possible menaces to equity and social justice might arise.
Keywords: Empowerment; healthcare; e-health; web society; social inequalities; social policy