Reluctant Bedfellows or Model Marriage? Postmodern Thinking Applied to Mainstream Public Sector Health Services Research Settings
An important mobilisation of postmodernism is as a way of thinking that pays particular attention to the play of differences in human thought and experience. Informed by the Derridean theory of deconstruction, the current discussion critically examines an original piece of health services research undertaken by the author, which aimed to derive propositions about how health service researchers disseminated research information to those in daily practice in the United Kingdom (UK) National Health Service (NHS). The objective is to provide an analytical review of those tacit and oftentimes suppressed, marginalized or hidden, forms of knowledge that may be conveniently overlooked or glossed over in mainstream health services research, which is largely produced by university-based researchers who remain subject to traditional academic pressures. Following a review of the theory and practice of deconstruction, Boje and Dennehy’s (1994) specific seven-point ‘deconstruction methodology’, based on drawing empirical data through bipolar opposite themes, is deployed before concluding with a consideration of the implications of a postmodern analysis of mainstream healthcare practice, policy and organisation settings, which have a central role to play in delivering service improvement in the new financial environment.
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