Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Corfee, F., Cox, L., Windsor, C.
The constitution of space in intensive care: Power, knowledge and the othering of people experiencing mental illness
(2020) Nursing Inquiry, 27 (2), art. no. e12328.

DOI: 10.1111/nin.12328

A sociological conceptualisation of space moves beyond the material to the relational, to consider space as a social process. This paper draws on research that explored the reproduction of legitimated knowledge and power structures in intensive care units during encounters, between patients, who were experiencing mental illness, and their nurses. Semi-structured telephone interviews with 17 intensive care nurses from eight Australian intensive care units were conducted in 2017. Data were analysed through iterative cycling between participants’ responses, the literature and the theoretical framework. The material and relational aspects of space in this context constitute a dynamic process that is concerned with the reproduction of everyday life, the preservation of the biomedical authority of intensive care, and the social othering of people experiencing mental illness. The work of theorists such as Löw, Harvey and Foucault underpins the exploration of space as a multi-dimensional, malleable social process that both produces and is the product of social interaction and the social world. In this paper, we argue that the performative work of knowledge and power production and reproduction, considered here in relation to intensive care spaces, enables ongoing othering and disenfranchisement of people experiencing mental illness. © 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Author Keywords
consumer; intensive care; mental health; othering; power; space

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