Embodied Spatial Practices and the Power to Care

Elise Paradis, Warren Liew and Myles Leslie

in The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Body and Embodiment

ISBN: 9780190842475
Published online January 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780190842505 | DOI:
Embodied Spatial Practices and the Power to Care

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Drawing on an ethnographic study of teamwork in critical care units (CCUs), this chapter applies Henri Lefebvre’s ([1974] 1991) theoretical insights to an analysis of clinicians’ and patients’ embodied spatial practices. Lefebvre’s triadic framework of conceived, lived, and perceived spaces draws attention to the role of bodies in the production and negotiation of power relations among nurses, physicians, and patients within the CCU. Three ethnographic vignettes—“The Fight,” “The Parade,” and “The Plan”—explore how embodied spatial practices underlie the complexities of health care delivery, making visible the hidden narratives of conformity and resistance that characterize interprofessional care hierarchies. The social orderings of bodies in space are consequential: seeing them is the first step in redressing them.

Keywords: embodiment; spatial practices; Henri Lefebvre; critical care; patient care; interprofessional relations; power; qualitative methods; ethnography

Article.  8130 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory ; Social Psychology

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