Clinical encounter and the logic of relationality: Reconfiguring bodies and subjectivities in clinical relations

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This article critically examines the significance of relational approaches for sociological understandings of clinical interactions, relations and practices, by exploring the ways in which relational theories and concepts have been employed in the recent sociological accounts of clinical encounters to trouble the classical dyadic models of clinical interaction and the related atomistic conceptions of agency and accountability. Reading this work through the theoretical contributions from feminist science studies scholarship, and particularly the work of Donna Haraway and Karen Barad, the article proposes an alternative understanding of clinical interactions, relations and practices, where relations are conceived as constitutive of individuals (objects/bodies and their attributes/identities), rather than being constituted by encounters between individuals. Key for this understanding is the reconceptualisation of clinical encounter as an apparatus of bodily production through which different agents (patients, clinicians, diseases and healthcare services) are materialised and enacted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-201
Number of pages17
Issue number2
Early online date12 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018



  • clinical interaction
  • relationality
  • identity
  • agency

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