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From fear to fraternity: doctors' construction of accounts of complaints

Mulcahy, Linda (1996) From fear to fraternity: doctors' construction of accounts of complaints. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 18 (4). pp. 397-412. ISSN 0964-9069

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09649069608410186


This article considers one form of consumer activism which has been largely overlooked by academics: complaining. The results of a two-year study of hospital consultants' responses to complaints about medical care are presented. It is argued that complaints have a significant and lasting effect on doctors and that they can lead to a legitimation crisis for them. Complaints cause an initial deconstruction of identity which is followed by a reconstruction anchored in the rhetoric of scientific rationality. Rather than being seen as legitimate expressions of grievance, complaints are commonly portrayed by consultants as symptoms of illness or manifestations of the problem personalities of the complainant.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1996 Routledge
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2010 09:26
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 01:58

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