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You don't like to tell them their job but it's your foot at the end of the day": theorising and negotiating 'resistance' in clinical encounters

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This article draws on the findings of a small-scale, qualitative study exploring patients’ reactions to specialist advice regarding healthy footwear to develop and explore the ways in which the concept of ‘resistance’ can be understood in clinical encounters. Whilst wearing ‘inappropriate’ shoes can cause discomfort and exacerbate existing conditions, foot health professionals may continue to experience resistance to efforts to encourage patients to make footwear changes. Theoretically, resistance to professional advice has been seen not merely as a barrier, but a ‘tool’ to spark further, more personalised consultation to encourage real, long-term changes. Whilst such developments are welcome, we contend that some patients may be more able than others to openly resist, and resistance may not always be overt and obvious, but rather may take the form of an ‘illusion of compliance’. Additionally, some patients may consciously resist advice as a means to retain a sense of control over their treatment and bodies. Our insights extend and develop the concept of resistance in a theoretical and practical sense and have applicability in wider neoliberal healthcare contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Theory and Health
Early online date18 Feb 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 18 Feb 2020


  • You don’t like to tell them their job but

    Rights statement: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Social Theory & Health. The final authenticated version is available online at:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 701 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 17/02/21

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