Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge


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Critical and productive debate is long overdue with regard to the impact on individual careers and research practice of the political and funding climate, the job market, the publication imperative, and even the way in which Universities are run. Historically the concerns, indeed, anxieties, of medical sociology, as an emergent sub-discipline, related to the potential for sociological enquiry and focus to be hijacked by the medical profession and its demands see, for example, Scambler, Almost half a century earlier, C.

Meddling with Mythology

Such observations, however, serve only to underline the marginal position in which we find ourselves as medial sociologists — even, I suspect, as senior researchers in well-established and respected units. This has led to a growing focus, at least in some quarters, on grant capture as an end in itself. Medical Sociology Online has recently encouraged debate about whether medical sociology should be seeking to professionalise Dixon-Woods, Although I concur with the envious glance that Mary Dixon-Woods reserves for health psychology, I am of the view that we would be mistaken to attempt similar tactics.

Medical sociology — and sociology in general - is a very different project, one of our defining characteristics being our ability perhaps even our remit to de-mystify and question the taken-for-granted. There is still something inherently subversive about sociology; if not in its products, then, certainly, in its potential. The professionalisation route necessitates, at worst, a degree of complicity with other professional groupings and mutual respect, at best. The split between pragmatic or applied and theory- oriented research is tangible in the growing polarisation and divergence of interests between medical sociologists working in health services research and those employed in sociology departments.

Of course many of us seek to do work across the applied-theoretical boundary, but this is increasingly difficult. Some of us — myself included — have attempted to take refuge under the umbrella of methodological expertise, in the hope that this will allow us to span diverse but productive - comparatively speaking - sets of substantive topic areas, which promise rich pickings in terms of the potential for theoretical generalisability. However, this is probably an option open only to medical sociologists taking a qualitative approach.

By such subterfuge it may yet be possible to pursue disciplinary concerns whilst still bowing to the need for pragmatism. Whilst embracing the idea of solidarity with jobbing researchers having for many years found myself in a similar situation there are some unwelcome truths that we are often loathe to address. Wright Mills urged us as sociologists to avoid Mills, , p. Like many of my medical sociology colleagues I have, over the years, collaborated with colleagues engaged in health promotion and had viewed such involvement as essentially benign, if seldom sociologically exciting.

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Risk to participants in qualitative health services research. Reducing the risk of harm. Key messages. Helen Mary Richards. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Lisa Jennifer Schwartz. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Abstract Background. Ethics , qualitative research.

Hoddinott P, Pill RM.

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A review of recently published qualitative research in general practice. More methodological questions than answers? Fam Pract. Mays N, Pope C. Rigour and qualitative research. Br Med J. Qualitative research methods in general practice and primary care. Primary care research ethics. Br J Gen Pract. Holloway I, Wheeler S. Ethical issues in qualitative nursing.

Nurs Ethics. Hind M.

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Ethical dilemnas in qualitative research. Br J Theatre Nurs. Punch M. Politics and ethics in qualitative research. Handbook of Qualitative Research. Thousand Oaks CA : Sage, 83— Borland K. In Perks R, Thomson A eds. The Oral History Reader. New York: Routledge, — British Medical Association. Confidentiality and Disclosure of Health Information.

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London: British Medical Association, British Sociological Association. Statement of Ethical Practice. British Sociological Association, Medical Research Council.

Personal Information in Medical Research. London: MRC, Manual for Research Ethics Committees. London: Kings College, Arksey H, Knight P. Protecting rights and welfare. In Arksey H, Knight P eds. Interviewing for Social Scientists. London: Sage, — Hornsby-Smith M. Gaining access. In Gilbert N ed. Researching Social Life.


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    London: Routledge, 30— Meddling with Mythology takes the reader from the theoretical to the practicable and from the public to the personal in the representations of AIDS. The issues raised here also have great significance for those concerned with the social construction of knowledge, theory building and the research process more generally. Help Centre. My Wishlist Sign In Join.

    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge
    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge
    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge
    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge
    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge
    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge
    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge
    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge
    Meddling with Mythology: AIDS and the Social Construction of Knowledge

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