The doctor's view : clinical and governmental rationalities in twentieth-century general medical practice
This thesis traces endeavours in the twentieth century to provide the 'intellectual' foundations for general medical practice as an independent, autonomous clinical discipline. The empirical focus of the study is upon the application of psychological and 'person-centred' approaches to general practice; above all, in the work of Michael Balint, and the Royal College of General Practitioners in the post-war period. The thesis is guided by two predominant theoretical concerns. First, to highlight the complex strategies and the wide range of means and resources that have been required to give substance to the claim that general practice is 'by nature' a person-centred endeavour. Second, to consider - and to question certain influential approaches to medical power in general, and to the social consequences of 'emancipator' - person-centred - forms of medicine in particular. Specifically, the 'power/knowledge' approach to medical sociology is contested both with regard to its empirical findings and in relation to its basis in the work of Michel Foucault (of whose writings on clinical medicine an alternative evaluation is offered).