Purifying and hybridising categories in healthcare decision-making: the clinic, the home and the multidisciplinary team meeting

2020-07-22T03:14:57Z (GMT) by Kevin Dew
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article explores processes of legitimising health knowledge in three different spaces: the clinic, the home and the multidisciplinary meeting. It considers the ways in which categorisation work, health understandings and therapeutic actions are intertwined. The analysis draws on ethnomethodology and actor-network theory to suggest that in the clinic consultation room, a number of interactional elements in talk about side effects and talk about unorthodox interventions attempt to stabilise the categories used by health experts. In contrast, the household is a centre of knowledge production that may subvert, manipulate or align with expert systems. Fixed and stable expert knowledge becomes flexible and hybridised inside the home. In the multidisciplinary team meeting different forms of authority are called upon in hospital-based cancer care meetings, where health professionals mix scientific understandings with other ways of knowing in determining treatment options. From these empirical observations it is argued that therapeutic actions are not subject in any simplistic way to a dominant mode of understanding, but there are many means of understanding that selectively come into play in relation to the specifics of the interaction that is occurring between patients, health professionals and therapeutic spaces.