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Title: The whole and the parts : spiritual aspects of care in a West of Scotland hospice
Author: Vivat, Bella
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis is an exploration of the spiritual aspects of hospice care, from the perspective of my understanding of the theory of the social construction of knowledge, and my particular interest in how people implement theories, beliefs and knowledge’s, especially excluded knowledge’s, in practices. The study examines the relationship between the dominant understandings and structures of allopathic medicine, the claim that hospices provide “total” or “holistic” care (which includes spiritual care) for dying people, and the practices of workers in a particular hospice. In addition, it considers the relevance for my own research practice of feminist research methodologies and the attempt to integrate ways of knowing which are considered, on the one hand, “emotional” and/or “subjective,” and, on the other hand, “rational” and/or “objective.” The thesis begins with a chapter which considers the theory of the social construction of knowledge, focusing predominantly on Thomas Kuhn’s concept of the “disciplinary matrix,” and discussing the relationship of this concept to new, particularly challenging theories, such as theory of social construction of knowledge itself and Cicely Saunders’ theory of “total pain” and “total care.” The thesis proceeds to outline my methodological approach, using feminist ethnographic methods, and to discuss my approach to analysing the data I collected through my fieldwork. This chapter is followed by two chapters which discuss my empirical findings. The first of these two chapters, drawing predominantly on material gathered through participant observation, reflects upon general aspects of care in the hospice, and notes the difficulties of observing spiritual aspects of care. The second empirical chapter considers workers’ perceptions and talk about these particular aspects of care, primarily through the material I gathered through one-to-one interviews. I argue that the particular hospice I studied was not a uniform place, but rather an assembly of distinct spaces, and workers’ practices differed both between these different parts of the hospice and between workers within each area. Thus, there was not a uniform approach to care in the hospice, and it varied depending on which particular workers were involved with a particular patient.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available