Instructions in the operating room: How the surgeon directs their assistant’s hands

Discourse Studies 16 (2):131-161 (2014)
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This article deals with surgical practice as it is locally organized within the course of the operation; it focuses on the way in which surgical action shaping the body for the local purposes of the operation is organized in a timely, situated, interactive manner. In order to do that, I offer a systematic analysis of the instructions addressed by a chief surgeon to his assistant in the form of directives during a surgical operation, as well as of instructed actions of the assistant following the directives of the surgeon. In this way, I aim to show how surgery is a methodic collaborative achievement, relying on finely tuned coordination between staff members. More generally, the article sketches a systematic and detailed analysis of instructions as situated accomplishments in time, and of instructed action as resulting from an embodied and indexical understanding of directives and requests as they are produced in time and in context.



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Lorenza Mondada
University of Basel

References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Following instructions.Ronald Amerine & Jack Bilmes - 1988 - Human Studies 11 (2-3):327 - 339.

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