Physiotherapy Otherwise


David A. Nicholls
Auckland University of Technology


Most people are so familiar with the idea of professions that it would be hard to imagine life without them. And yet, the professions we know today are a relatively recent invention. Although physiotherapy may not have achieved the extraordinary levels of privilege and prestige enjoyed by medicine, it still has three quarters of a million respected and valued practitioners worldwide, and is, in many ways, the model of a modern health profession.

But physiotherapy is also facing unprecedented challenges, and calls for reform are now widespread. Global healthcare is on the cusp of a cultural, economic, social, and technological revolution, and entering a new post-professional era. Physiotherapy will be affected in profoundly important ways in the coming years, but, to date, we have precious few tools to help us navigate the change.

The story of how physiotherapy arrived here was the subject of The End of Physiotherapy (Routledge, 2017). Physiotherapy Otherwise builds on this work, bringing a century of social theory to our understanding of the profession.

The book explores what the professions are, what they do in society, what's good about them, and what's bad, and applies all of this to physiotherapy today.

By taking the reader from our earliest sociological understandings of the professions to the cutting edge of contemporary thinking, Physiotherapy Otherwise is both a primer on sociology and a critical course in a new ways to understand our profession and our practice.

A paperback version of this book is available to purchase print on demand via most major online booksellers.

Author Biography

David A. Nicholls, Auckland University of Technology

David A. Nicholls is a Professor of Critical Physiotherapy at AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a physiotherapist, researcher, teacher, and writer, with a passion for thinking otherwise about physiotherapy.

Cover image: ‘Group’ © Melissa Schriek



December 14, 2021