Does gender make any difference in the working relations between doctors and nurses? Is the relationship between women doctors and nursing staff poorer or perhaps better than is the case with male doctors? Disturbing Gender examines exactly these questions and attempts to show how and why gender relations need to be taken into account if we are to understand why certain tensions arise in hospital work.
Nursing and medicine are at the present time renegotiating and redefining their position in relation to each other. By arguing that the health care organisation itself is gendered and that the professions of medicine and nursing are closely built upon constructions of masculinity(ies) and femininity(ies), Karen Davies attempts to also explore what a resetting of the boundaries means. Dialogic communication and respect for each others’ skills and alterity emerge as central components.
Theoretically, ‘the body’ is used as an analytic tool in the book: the body is inscribed with gender – influencing intraprofessional relations; there is the question of situatedness – where the bodies of medical and nursing staff find themselves in the daily run of things; and there is the meeting, or mis-meeting, of the two collective bodies – medicine and nursing.
An underlying theme running throughout the whole book is the question of change. The analysis attempts to pinpoint where problems lie and argues for an ungendering of gender relations.
Karen Davies is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Department of Sociology, Lund University.