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On producing and reproducing intensive care: The place of the patient, the place of the other

White, Paul. 2008. On producing and reproducing intensive care: The place of the patient, the place of the other. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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This thesis traces ideas of visibility how certain social practices can be made visible and how other practices are obscured. Beginning with ideas concerning ontology and epistemology, the thesis explores how through the production of ethnography, epistemological positions can be made visible, and how through the doing and writing of ethnography, an attempt was made to make certain positions visible within a context of performing ethically grounded research. A background is laid, demonstrating competing perspectives of what constitutes intensive care historically, publicly and within the context of the field. The main body of the thesis shows how these common sense and historical understandings are made visible within the everyday social practices of intensive care and are reproduced through interaction, documentation and the treatment of patients. Issues surrounding performing ethnography within an intensive care unit were treated as problematic by the Local Research Ethics Committee. This made visible that which constitutes legitimacy how legitimacy is granted, its requirements and the place of the individual. Failing to meet the criteria of legitimacy can lead to processes of disposal. Disposal is demonstrated to be aligned with processes of 'othering', not just within systems that are designed to protect the public, but are an active component of individual lives and of securing admission to, or discharge from intensive care. The thesis examines social life within intensive care from multiple positions and as a consequence positions intensive care as a particular cultural accomplishment. It is through such accomplishments that the patient within intensive care is made visible and conversely it is from the perspective of the patient that organisational processes can themselves be seen as a specific cultural accomplishment. This thesis represents an examination of accomplishments, of invocation, alignment and disposal through which, tacit cultural assumptions and the position of the patient is laid bare.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
ISBN: 9781303183843
Funders: ESRC, British Association of Critical Care Nurses
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2016 23:14

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