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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Impossible Clinic

A Critical Sociology of Evidence-Based Medicine

The Impossible Clinic explores the conundrum of evidence-based medicine’s (EBM) attempt to translate evidence from medical research into recommendations for practice. Ironically, when medical institutions combine disciplinary regulations with EBM to produce clinical practice guidelines, the outcomes are antithetical to the aim. Such guidelines fail to increase individual physicians’ capacity to judge – as EBM promises – because they externalize judgment while imposing disciplinary control. The Impossible Clinic is the first book to interrogate the history, practice, and pitfalls of EBM and how it persists due to intersecting relationships between professional medical regulation and liberal governance strategies.

256 pages | 6 x 9

Table of Contents


1 Conversations in Medicine: Problematizing Clinical Practice

2 Institutional Sites: McMaster University and Canada’s Contribution to Medical Training

3 Responsibilizing a New Kind of Clinician: Problem-Based Learning

4 Technologies of Regulation: Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Effects of Normalization

5 The Impossible Clinic: Biopolitics, Governmentality, Liberalism


Notes; References; Index

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