The dislocation of medical dominance: making space for interprofessional care.

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The dislocation of medical dominance: making space for interprofessional care.

J Interprof Care. 2013 Sep;27 Suppl 2:24-30

Authors: Bleakley A

The historical transition of modern medicine from an autonomous profession to a team-based interprofessional practice can be described in terms of space rather than time, with "place" as the unit of analysis. Imagining modern medicine spatially was instigated by Foucault, who described medical dominance as a territorializing of both individual body spaces and public spaces--the former through the diagnostic medical gaze, the latter in a gaze of health surveillance. However, much has happened since Foucault's (1963) analysis. The diagnostic gaze has been dispersed to develop a collaborative gaze including patients and healthcare professionals; political interests have appropriated the public health gaze; and the medical profession is subject to democratic processes of accountability. Medicine has lost its territorial imperative as new "liquid" and "nomadic" work practices emerge, making space for interprofessional care. Such dislocation of medical dominance and its multiple relocations are poorly theorised. Deleuze and Guattari distinguish between "striated" and "smooth" spaces. Striated space is associated with hierarchies and boundaries, where smooth space includes boundary crossing and democratic collaboration. Smooth or liminal spaces in hospitals, such as corridors, can paradoxically act as catalysts for collaboration or assembly democracy, affording opportunities for improvised interprofessional encounters. Such encounters can act as an antidote to planned protocols or imperatives for interprofessional collaboration.

PMID: 23930686 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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