Clinical Interaction in Context

A Sociological Observational Study of Naturally Occurring Primary Care Consultations

Clinical Interaction in Context is a sociological observational study of interactions between patients and general practitioners (GPs) in naturally occurring consultations. Although our empirical exploration focuses on in situ encounters between patients and GPs as they unfold, we situate their interaction in the sociocultural context in which it is embedded and explore their negotiations in relation to their institutionalised positions and roles. Based on Bourdieu’s field theory, we depict the clinical consultation as a social field that has its own distinct logic, constituted by a set of interrelated hierarchical social positions. Interaction within this field is underpinned by a shared set of informal rules of conduct that are culturally fostered through social interaction, and tacitly claimed as expectations. Contextualising this interaction enables us to see how the actions of both patients and GPs are constrained by their different institutionalised positions.

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