This work is an assessment of, and a contribution to, the development of a sociology of medical knowledge - including the construction of medical opinion, the fabric of medical discourse and the medical construction of the body. Extensive research on the work of haematologists is used to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the existing understanding of medical knowledge. Topics covered include: the place of interaction among doctors, rather than between doctors and patients, in defining the construction of medical knowledge; the ways in which clinical opinion is socially produced and the nature of the local settings in which this process occurs; and the relations between medical knowledge, medical language, and the increasingly technological contexts of contemporary medical practice.
Paul Atkinson is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at Cardiff University, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and a Fellow of the Institute of Welsh Affairs. Recent books include Creating Conditions (with Katie Featherstone), Everyday Arias: An Operatic Ethnography, and Contours of Culture (with Sara Delamont and William Housley). He is currently conducting ethnographic work in art-makers' studios. His most recent book is For Ethnography (SAGE, 2014). He and Sara Delamont were the founding editors of Qualitative Research, which they edited for 14 years. Together with Sara Delamont, Amanda Coffey, John Lofland and Lyn Lofland, he edited the Sage Handbook of Ethnography. He will be editor-in-chief, with Sara Delamont, Melissa Hardy and Malcolm Williams, of the SAGE Encyclopaedia of Research Methods.