Assimilating sociology: critical reflections on the 'sociology in nursing' debate

Mulholland, Jon (1997) Assimilating sociology: critical reflections on the 'sociology in nursing' debate. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25 . pp. 844-852. ISSN 0309-2402 [Article]


We are witnessing the emergence of a 'new nursing'. In part, this has been
associated with the adoption of a 'holistic' model of health and a commitment to a holistic curriculum within nurse education. The role of sociology within the nursing enterprise has been the subject of much debate. This paper seeks to further this debate by arguing that sociology is invaluable to nursing for many reasons but that its value may be undermined as a consequence of being overly constrained within the nursing arena, at the mutual expense of both sociology and the long term interests of nursing itself. This paper will suggest that central to an understanding of how this 'surplus constraint' of sociology occurs is an understanding of the manner in which the holistic model has been adopted in much of nursing and nurse education. The 'indeterminacy' of the holistic model is such that it has empowered a questionable eclecticism, marginalized philosophical controversies within nursing theory, disguised difficult epistemological and ontological conflicts associated with competing claims to truth and facilitated the operation of a form of power whereby sociology has
been excluded, at the very moment of its apparent inclusion. This paper goes on to argue that the value of sociology to nursing is dependent upon: firstly, a more systematic and rigorous discussion of its relationship to, and role within, nursing and secondly, a movement away from an implicit 'assimilation' model regarding the incorporation of sociology into nursing towards a more 'multicultural' approach. Only under such circumstances may sociology's value to nursing be realized but in a manner that places an importance on maintaining the ontological and epistomological integrity of the sociological tradition.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 15961
Depositing User: Jon Mulholland
Date Deposited: 13 May 2015 14:49
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 12:28

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.