Whose Side Are We on Now? Ethical Issues in Social Research and Medical Practice
Social Science and Medicine. 1991; 32(5): 591-599.
The stance of the sociologist as champion of the underdog or as purveyor of the values and attitudes of the 'superordinate' was posed as a problem by Howard Becker and debated by Alvin Gouldner some two decades ago. Since then, those who have addressed the question as to whose side the sociologist should be on, have opted for an 'ironic stance'. This paper, taking the case of a research unit wholly funded by a patient self-help group and located within a University in Britain, notes the difficulties currently faced by the 'lay' researcher working in the field of medicine in times of scarcity and want as compared with those faced some two or three decades ago in times of expansion. It is argued that the self-help group is identifiable both as suffering victim and as overlord, since they raise the funds which, sometimes directly and always indirectly, are used to employ researchers. In practice there has always been a constant negotiation....
Attitudes; Behavioral Research; Chronically Ill; Communication; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Interdisciplinary Communication; Medicine; Normality; Research; Researchers; Resource Allocation; Scarcity; Self Care; Social Dominance; Social Sciences; Sociology; Stigmatization; Suffering; Social Research; Values;
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