Pierre Bourdieu's Theory of Practice Offers Nurses a Framework to Uncover Embodied Knowledge of Patients Living with Disabilities or Illnesses: A Discussion Paper


Aim: To discuss how Bourdieu's theory of practice can be used by nurse researchers to better uncover the embodied knowledge of patients living with disability and illness. Background: Bourdieu's theory of practice has been used in social and healthcare researches. This theory emphasizes that an individual's everyday practices are not always explicit and mediated by language, but instead an individual's everyday practices are often are tacit and embodied. Design: Discussion paper. Data Sources: Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL and SCOPUS were searched for concepts from Bourdieu's theory that was used to understand embodied knowledge of patients living with disability and illness. The literature search included articles from 2003 – 2017. Implications for Nursing: Nurse researchers should use Bourdieu's theory of practice to uncover the embodied knowledge of patients living with disability and illness, and nurse researchers should translate these discoveries into policy recommendations and improved evidence-based best practice. The practice of nursing should incorporate an understanding of embodied knowledge to support disabled and ill patients as these patients modify "everyday practices" in the light of their disabilities and illnesses. Conclusion: Bourdieu's theory enriches nursing because the theory allows for consideration of both the objective and the subjective through the conceptualization of capital, habitus and field. Uncovering individuals embodied knowledge is critical to implement best practices that assist patients as they adapt to bodily changes during disability and illness.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Attitude to health; Concept formation; Disabled person; Human; Nursing Care; Nursing Research; Nursing Theory; Philosophy; Procedures; Psychology; Concept Formation; Disabled Persons; Health Knowledge; Attitudes; Practice; Humans; Nursing Care; Nursing; Bourdieu; Disability; Disease; Embodied Knowledge; Health; Illness; Medical; Nurse; Nursing Practice; Theory

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Article - Journal

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© 2018 Blackwell Publishing, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2018

PubMed ID