The Ceremonial Order of the Clinic: Parents, Doctors and Medical Bureaucracies, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Ceremonial Order of the Clinic

Parents, Doctors and Medical Bureaucracies, 1st Edition

By P.M. Strong, Robert Dingwall


300 pages

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Hardback: 9781138735484
pub: 2017-12-21
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This title was first published in 2001. A classic ethnographic study of the interactions between paediatricians and parents of children thought to be neurologically handicapped. Strong used this work to systematize the often chaotic ideas of Erving Goffman, to explore the connections between micro and macro analysis in sociology and to reflect on the nature of medical practice in modern liberal societies. The book stands as a testament to Strong’s pursuit of methodological rigour in qualitative sociology.


’The Ceremonial Order of the Clinic remains an exemplary study. Strong’s work and scholarship are a continuing lesson to us all.’ Simon Williams, University of Warwick, UK ’I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the study of health care or is going to an outpatient clinic for the first time. I hope its republication will provoke further studies in this area.’ Health Matters

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Medical systems and settings; Natural parenthood; Collegial authority; A joint venture; Medical control; Ease and tension in the alliance; Conclusions and generalizations; A methodological appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

About the Authors

P.M. Strong (now deceased ) studied at the universities of Oxford and Essex, before moving to Aberdeen, where he played a key role in the intellectual development of medical sociology as a field of study. The Ceremonial Order comes from this period. Strong later moved to Oxford and then to the Open University, where he was one of the core authors in the launch of U205 Health and Disease, the first interdisciplinary distance learning course in this area. Subsequently, he moved to Warwick, where he did the research on NHS reorganisation that led to his other major book, The NHS: under new management (1990, with Jane Robinson). At the time of his death, Strong was working at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on a study of the social history of AIDS. Robert Dingwall studied at the universities of Cambridge and Aberdeen, where he completed a PhD in medical sociology. He subsequently moved to Oxford, where he developed lines of research in law and society, many of which continued to explore health-related issues.

About the Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General