Confidentiality and Personal Integrity

Nursing Ethics 1 (2):86-95 (1994)
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This paper uses the social theory of Erving Goffman in order to argue that confidentiality should be understood in relation to the mundane social skills by which individuals present and respect specific self-images of themselves and others during social interaction. The breaching of confidentiality is analysed in terms of one person's capacity to embarrass another, and so to expose that person as incompetent. Respecting confidentiality may at once serve to protect the vulnerable from an unjust society, and yet also protect the guilty from just accusation. Ethical reasoning about confidentiality must therefore recognize the dangers of prejudice and violence inherent in decisions to breach or to respect confidentiality. Case studies are used to illustrate the efficacy of this account, culminating with analyses of three examples from the UKCC document Confidentiality



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Andrew Edgar
Cardiff University

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The Limits of Confidentiality.Paul Cain - 1998 - Nursing Ethics 5 (2):158-165.

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