Giving patients a future: The constituting of classes in an acute medical unit

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Drawing on an ethnography of conduct within an acute medical unit, the paper explores how nurses and doctors constitute classes of patient to help accomplish their ordering work. For example, patients such as older people and those who are chronically sick are figured as having only limited medical futures. The current analysis suggests that staff deploy patients' (perceived) social identities to help (re)figure them in particular ways to organise disposal. However, disposal emerges not so much as an effect of staff's moves, but as a mode of ordering in a world of multiple domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-185
Number of pages26
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997


  • Category
  • Conduct
  • Discourse
  • Disposal
  • Identity
  • Older people
  • Organisation
  • Rationing
  • Throughput

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