Saturday, 24 September 2011

Governmentality and Professionalism

This is an essay that I wrote last year on changing concepts of professionalism for a module on the Cardiff EdD. The ideas need a lot more work but there may be some parts that are of wider interest including a history of medical professionalism in the UK.
Governmentality refers to a Foucauldian concept of the "art of governing". If you have any thought on what I have written then please leave a comment. I'm publishing it today as a follow-up to some discussion with Cl are Gerada. Governmentality and Medical Professionalism


  1. Dear Anne Marie,

    A very interesting essay, though rather too accepting of government metastasising into inappropriate areas for my taste. Do we really want doctors to be agents of the state? or do we want doctors to stand up for their patients interests? There will be times when state and patient have different desires, and in these situations I do not believe that the state is always right.

    It is a thought provoking essay, and a very worthwhile blogpost.

    Dr Phil

  2. Thanks Phil,

    Do you think that I have suggested that doctors have become agents of the state? I think the relationship is more complex than this. Doctors are given their power by the state, but I've also suggested that through the rise of EBM etc they have given power to the state.

    I recommend Johnson's work esp Health Professions and the State in Europe. You might also find Nikolas Rose's work very interesting. I do!

    Thanks again

  3. Dear Anne Marie,

    I do think that doctors act as agents of the state, but this is only one facet of Practice. I would not agree that doctors are given their power by the state. The state would like to usurp all power to itself, and play lady bountiful in pretending that any power of other areas is at the states discretion.

    I do not see the state as a benign influence, but rather as having perpetual tendency to tyranny. Only by standing up for our rights and duties as professionals can we preserve a counterbalancing force. Neither state or profession is entirely benign from the patient perspective, but competing champions are better than a triumphant monopoly.

    I shall see if I can track your references.

    Dr Phil


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