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Conceptualising Conscientious Objection as Resistance

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ben FarrandORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Uitgeverij Paris BV, 2014.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


While conscientious objection in healthcare is becoming increasingly studied, the legislative implementation of the principle is often without definition, leading to the question 'what is conscientious objection?' As this article will demonstrate, it is useful to reconceptualise conscientious objection as 'resistance' to dominant discourses and understandings in society, which have been internalised and co-opted as a way of acting as a 'safety-valve' for individualised dissent, as well as reinforcing perceptions of freedom, choice and tolerance in liberal democratic society. This non-normative assessment of conscientious objection therefore seeks to provide a framework for understanding why certain forms of resistance may be considered conscientious and some may not, before then applying this understanding to issues such as abortion and female genital mutilation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Farrand B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Medical Law and Ethics

Year: 2014

Volume: 2

Issue: 2-3

Pages: 69-87

Print publication date: 01/07/2014

Online publication date: 01/07/2014

Acceptance date: 30/11/2013

Date deposited: 06/04/2019

ISSN (print): 2213-5405

ISSN (electronic): 2214-5354

Publisher: Uitgeverij Paris BV


DOI: 10.7590/221354014X14042206276077


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