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“Scissors, Please.” The Practical Accomplishment of Surgical Work in the Operating Theatre.

The focus of this article is on professional activity in the operating theater. We explore how surgeons and nurses organize their activities, how social interaction is used to help structure and define situations, and how differentials in knowledge are constructed and oriented to. We utilize some ideas and concepts from symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology, and conversation analysis to analyze small clips of audio- and video-recorded interaction. Focusing on how surgeons and nurses request, provide, and apply surgical instruments, the analysis shows how surgical work is accomplished through talk and bodily conduct. We conclude that, examined in detail, the social interaction between surgeons and nurses is analytically inseparable from the “technical” demands of their work.

Read the full article: Bezemer, J., Murtagh, G., Cope., A., Kress, G. and Kneebone, R. (2011). “Scissors, Please” The Practical Accomplishment of Surgical Work in the Operating Theatre. Symbolic Interaction 34, 3, 398-414.

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