Accounting for social accountability: Developing critiques of social accountability within medical education
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BACKGROUND: The concept of the social accountability of medical schools has garnered many followers, in response to a broad desire for greater social justice in health care. As its use has spread, the term 'social accountability' has become a meta-narrative for social justice and an inevitable and unquestionable good, while at the same time becoming increasingly ambiguous in its meaning and intent. In this article, we use the lenses of postmodernism and critical reflexivity to unpack the multiple meanings of social accountability. In our view, subjecting the concept of 'social accountability' to critique will enhance the ability to appraise the ways in which it is understood and enacted. DISCUSSION: We contend that critical reflexivity is necessary for social accountability to achieve its aspirations, and hence we must be prepared to become accountable not only for our actions, but also for the ideologies and discourses underlying them.
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