chapter  2
A hospital-based approach: methodological issues
Pages 30

The material collected for this investigation is firmly embedded in the medical sphere. This is due both to my decision to begin with the diagnosis and to the fact my corpora of interviews were collated in a hospital setting. There would be no sense in regretting the hospital-based nature of my fieldwork because it was also my main tool, both in defining my topic and in applying a sociological approach to a field that ostensibly lay outside its remit. In this chapter, I will look at the methodological issues inherent to this hospital-based fieldwork, taking the measure of its implications and discussing the role it played in defining my topic. In outlining my different field-settings, there are four particularly crucial issues to consider: how I selected and delimited my interviews on the basis of the diagnosis; the fact that the investigation and interviews took place in a hospital setting; how the content of the interviews I conducted was shaped by medical discourse; and, finally – although chronologically speaking this came first – how I was either granted or denied access to the medical field in my capacity as a sociologist.