The medical sociology of evidence: a review of Evidence-Based Healthcare in Context: Critical Social Science Perspectives

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Sandra Tanenbaum


Alex Broom and Jon Adams have edited a volume entitled Evidence-Based Healthcare in Context:  Critical Social Science Perspectives. Broom is a professor of sociology and Adams a professor of public health and both have an abiding interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which figures prominently in the book. The volume comprises ten chapters, including opening and closing chapters and eight reports of original research. Six of these relate the findings of qualitative studies of healthcare practitioners in specific contexts. Two analyze evidence-based medicine (EBM) at the societal level.  Although the contributions are not all of the same high quality, the volume does offer some very interesting papers illustrating the book’s primary point:  that the standardization implied by EBM has not and indeed cannot, be achieved because practitioners (and patients) interpret evidence in myriad meaning-shaping contexts.

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