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On Intertext in Chemotherapy: an Ethnography of Text in Medical Practice

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Building on literary theory and data from a field study of text in chemotherapy, this article introduces the concept of intertext and the associated concepts of corpus and intertextuality to CSCW. It shows that the ensemble of documents used and produced in practice can be said to form a corpus of written texts. On the basis of the corpus, or subsections thereof, the actors in cooperative work create intertext between relevant (complementary) texts in a particular situation, for a particular purpose. The intertext of a particular situation can be constituted by several kinds of intertextuality, including the complementary type, the intratextual type and the mediated type. In this manner the article aims to systematically conceptualise cooperative actors’ engagement with text in text-laden practices. The approach is arguably novel and beneficial to CSCW. The article also contributes with a discussion of computer enabling the activity of creating intertext. This is a key concern for cooperative work as intertext is central to text-centric work practices such as healthcare.


Christensen, Lars Rune (2016): On Intertext in Chemotherapy: an Ethnography of Text in Medical Practice. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 25, No. 1. DOI: 10.1007/s10606-015-9238-1. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 1-38