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Abstract

Culture and physiotherapy

Physiotherapists,whether through international work or within the multicultural societies where manyclinicians live and work, are exposed to cultures that differ from their own. Clinical interactions in across-cultural situation highlight the complexities of culture in practice. Three specific areas are highlightedand explored: the culture of physiotherapy practice; cultural competencewithin the profession; and the culture of the employing organisation. Culturalcompetence is further developed and analysed at three levels: awareness of different cultures; acceptance of multiple truths and knowledge; and collaboration to avoid the potentially destructive power ofthe dominant culture. Current literature allows a theoretical framing of the issues, which indicates that physiotherapy should be considered as a cultural practice. The investment of western concepts such as autonomy and individualism, as well as the objectification inherent within the medical model, lead to significant dilemmas in the cross-culturalcontext. However, a significant lack of detailed ethnography of practice is also a weakness in the debate. Resultant areas for future research are highlighted.


Author(s): Pascale Allotey, Meriel Norris

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