The need for sociological theories

By | 22nd February 2011

Theoretically, within the interprofessional field we still have some way to travel. Encouragingly, in the past decade we have seen a steady growth in the literature of adult learning principles, social psychology theories, organizational theories, systems approaches and psychodynamic perspectives.  Although the use of these different theories has been enhancing and deepening our knowledge about IPE and IPP, the still field remains, in large part, under-theorized, as authors continue to overlook the use of theory in their work.  A further issue compounds this situation.  In general, there is one perspective – sociology – which has traditionally been poorly represented in the field.  The limited use of sociological perspectives within the interprofessional field is noteworthy as it has further limited our understanding of some key dimensions of IPE and IPP.  For example, the use of this perspective can provide some informative insights into the evolution of the health and social care professions and how interprofessional hierarchies and imbalances of legitimacy emerged and continue to thrive.  Importantly, sociology can provide some much needed critical framing of interprofessional activities to understand how micro interactions between professions are enacted within larger political, social and economic structures.

(Scott Reeves, Editor-in-Chief)

To read more see: Ideas for the development of the interprofessional field. Journal of Interprofessional Care; 24:217-219.