Boundary-work and the Vulnerability of Academic Status (Pehmeäkantinen kirja)

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This study focuses on how the boundaries of nursing science have been defined and how its academic status has been challenged and defended in the course of two conflicts at the University of Tampere.

The first conflict occurred as a PhD thesis on fasting was publicly defended in nursing science in 1996. The evening news on Finland's main television channel stated that the thesis was groundbreaking, and that fasting had been scientifically proven to be healthy, but the thesis's opponents criticised the thesis and the practices applied in the research. The Finnish Association of Sceptics also publicly criticised the thesis. That same year in the same department of nursing science, a Masters thesis concerning the concept and practice of 'therapeutic touch' aroused another conflict. The thesis was published as a book, the publisher of which received the Finnish Association of Sceptics' annual Humbug Award. This was a crisis for the nursing science community in Tampere, and after the award, the departmental committee for nursing science decided to ban certain books and theories. In particular, references to the works of the then popular nursing theorist Rosemarie Rizzo Parse were no longer to be accepted.
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