She Said/He Said: Ethics Consultation and the Gendered Discourse
Journal of Clinical Ethics. 1996 Winter; 7(4): 321-332.
Bioethics is a world of talk, of rational discourse, of story, and of cases reconstructed as narrative. In a world of talk, where the hearers and tellers of the narrative, the clinicians, the ethicists, and the ethics committees all serve as an answering chorus, we need to pay close attention not only to what is said, but to who talks, who listens, and how -- we need to "see" the "talk," and the performance of the "talk," as clearly as we study the substance of the argument. This article serves as a modest contribution to existing work on the impact of gender in clinical ethics consultation and represents a new line of inquiry for the field that itself has both overt and covert conversational rules only now beginning to be articulated. Our work as clinical ethicists and our reading in feminist and linguistic theory has raised significant questions for us about the nature and structure of clinical ethics consultation. Drawing on the considerable existing theoretical contributions of others, we focus here on the problem of discourse -- on how the "talk" happens in the clinical setting, and how gender in particular influences the way that ethical discourse takes place. The impact of gender on the nature and structure of "ethics talk," specifically as it influences the development of moral perspective, the assertion of moral agency, the structure of clinical ethics consultation, and the recommendations offered to patient, families, and healthcare professionals is at stake in this inquiry.
Bioethics; Clinical Ethics; Clinical Ethics Committees; Communication; Consultation; Ethicists; Ethics; Ethics Committees; Ethics Consultation; Females; Feminist Ethics; Interdisciplinary Communication; Interprofessional Relations; Males; Methods; Narrative Ethics; Nature; Nurses; Physician Nurse Relationship; Physicians; Referral and Consultation; Social Dominance;
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