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Overcoming Stigma in the clinic: identifying, understanding and addressing discrimination, degradation and discreditation in clinical settings.

The role of philosophy in discussions of clinical practice was once regarded by many as restricted to a very limited version of ‘medical ethics’. But in recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the philosophy of medicine and healthcare as an intellectually serious and practically significant enterprise. Controversies about evidence, value, clinical knowledge, judgment, integrity and ethics have required practitioners and policymakers to confront the epistemic and moral basis of practice, while philosophers have found in these debates ways to invigorate and reframe the investigation of long-standing philosophical problems, about the nature of reasoning, science, knowledge and practice, and the relationships between epistemology and ethics, morals and politics.

The Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice is an international health sciences journal (Impact Factor 2.431) that focuses on the evaluation and development of clinical practice in medicine, nursing and the allied health professions. It has a large and diverse readership including practitioners and academics from a vast range of areas, and over a twenty-year tradition of publishing papers raising epistemological, metaphysical and ethical issues underlying clinical policy and practice. April 2010 saw the publication of the first thematic issue of the Journal devoted entirely to philosophical issues, and these ‘philosophy thematics’ have now become an established annual feature of the JECP.

In the 2022 philosophy thematic edition, we are including a special section on the topic of Overcoming Stigma in the Clinic: Identifying, Understanding and Addressing Discrimination, Degradation and Discreditation in Clinical Settings.

‘Stigma’ is a category of degrading, discrediting, and discriminatory interactions which elicit negative and often debilitating and destructive emotional responses or anticipatory mitigation, management and avoidance strategies. Since the publication of Erving Goffman’s classic text Stigma in 1963 there has emerged a vast literature on stigma, much of which has been written in the context of medicine and healthcare (e.g. the extensive work on HIV-Stigma). While the early work emphasized the interactive dynamics of stigma, more recent work has often overlooked or downplayed the interactive dynamics that Goffman sought to highlight, instead treating stigma as a “thing”-like attribute, while promoting structural and quantitative studies. In this special edition we are particularly keen to publish articles on the interactive production of stigma, or on enacted discrimination, discreditation, degradation and bias in the clinic, healthcare management and policy work. Papers can be ethnographic and interactive analyses or they can be ‘theory’ pieces which argue for interactive analysis of stigma situations, with illustrative examples. However, we also welcome papers for the 2022 philosophy thematic issue that do not fit this particular theme but which represent excellent examples of the application of philosophy to questions of substantive import in medicine and healthcare.

Original papers are usually no more than 5000 words in length (though an extension of word count may be requested), and detailed author guidelines are available here.

Manuscripts can be submitted online – please mark the submissions clearly with the words “Philosophy Thematic Issue 2022”.

The deadline for submission of all manuscripts is 19th February 2022. For any questions about possible submissions please e-mail Professor Luna Dolezal:, Dr Phil Hutchinson: or Professor Michael Loughlin:

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