Kirsten Beedholm

Foucault's Notion of Forms of Problematization: a methodological discussion of the application of Foucault's later work to nursing research

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This study takes its point of departure in an oft-voiced critique that the French philosopher Michel Foucault gives discourse priority over practice, thereby being deterministic and leaving little space for the individual to act as an agent. Based on an interpretation of the latter part of Foucault's oeuvre, we argue against this critique and provide a methodological discussion of the perception that Foucault's method constitutes, primarily, discourse analysis. We argue that it is possible to overcome this critique of Foucault's work by the application of methodological tools adapted from Foucault's later writings and his diagnosis of his own work as studies of forms of problematization. To shed light on the possibilities that this approach offers to the researcher, we present a reading of aspects of Foucault's work, with a focus on his notion of forms of problematization. Furthermore, we elaborate on concepts from his so-called genealogical period, namely ‘the dispositive’, strategy and tactics. Our interpretation is supported by examples from a study of the emergence of Danish nursing education, which is based on an analytical framework that we developed in the light of an interpretation of aspects of Foucault's work.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing Inquiry
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

    Research areas

  • critical research approaches, Foucault, power relations, qualitative research, research methodology

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