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Keywords:

  • Foucault;
  • judgmental relativity;
  • modernist theory;
  • power/knowledge;
  • scientific/medical discourse

This paper addresses Foucauldian theory and its usefulness to nursing research. It is written in the form of a discussion between the authors on the merits and liabilities of Foucauldian theory as applied to analyses of nursing. As such, it focuses upon some of the more pertinent critiques of both Foucauldian and postmodern theory. By addressing Foucault from two different positions, the discussion seeks to demonstrate the complexity of Foucauldian theory and warns against oversimplification in its application to nursing research. The authors also argue for an awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of any given theoretical stance.