In many Western countries, physiotherapy in a private context is practiced and managed within a neoliberal ideology. Little is known about how private physiotherapeutic practice functions, which is why this study aims to explore how physiotherapy is practiced from the perspective of physiotherapists in Danish private practice, within a Foucauldian perspective. This study consisted of 21 interviews with physiotherapists employed in private practice and observation notes of the clinic. Interviews and observation notes were analyzed through the lens of Foucault’s concepts of discipline, self-discipline, power and resistance. Three categories were constructed: (1) the tacit transition from person to patient; (2) the art of producing docile bodies; and (3) the inhibition of freedom of action by practicing in private homes. From a Foucauldian perspective, private physiotherapeutic practices have a disciplinary function in modern society as the physiotherapists produce docile bodies through disciplinary technologies, whereby their business becomes profitable. Most patients support the physiotherapists’ ‘‘regime of truth’’ but if they resist, they are either excluded or accepted as ‘‘abnormal’’ but as a necessary source of income. The physiotherapists appear to be unconscious of the bio-powers working ‘‘behind their backs’’ as they are subject to the Western medical logic, and the neoliberal framework that rules their businesses.
Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 2015, Vol 31, Issue 1, p. 17-28
professional identity; Physiotherapy; Foucault; Private practice; Interview; oberservation