Organising the machine:material-discursive practices of mobile medical equipment engineers

Wood, Lisa Anne (2016) Organising the machine:material-discursive practices of mobile medical equipment engineers. Applied Mobilities, 1 (2). pp. 161-175. ISSN 2380-0127

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In this paper I consider the mobile work of medical equipment engineers to reveal material-discursive practices during the installation of a Cone-Beam Computerised Tomography (CBCT) system. In doing so, I draw together elements of Organisation Studies and Mobilities to explore movement in relation to matter, meaning and materialization. I use the medical equipment engineers’ work to explore materialities of organising in physical spaces that are continually changing and examine how mobile work shapes, and is shaped by, context, ordering and potentiality. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with medical equipment engineers, the data is interrogated to elucidate these highly mobile working practices, specifically drawing out practices and materialities that relate to ordering and space making. The analysis describes the way in which engineers temporarily ‘own’ spaces in which their work takes place whilst also being shaped by the organisation in which they are placed. I discuss the technologies of ordering (or control), which take the form of plans or protocols (physical or virtual), and material elements, such as signage, that shape, influence and control but also facilitate, enable and authorize mobile work to take place. Modes of ordering, or strategies, are unpacked to reveal how mobilities influence material-discursive becomings and thus how the mobilities of the engineers become internal to the sociomaterial ordering of the machine. Through this empirical paper, I demonstrate how the mobilities paradigm can help understand these circulations of knowledge and thus understand how mobile work shapes sociotechnical assemblages.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Applied Mobilities
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04 Oct 2016 15:10
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 01:56