Archive for June, 2009

My first peer-reviewed article: now available!

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

It might seem strange that one can have a PhD degree for two years and still not have published a single peer-reviewed article. Strange especially to those who are used to the social science biz in the English-speaking world. Well, things are different in Germany. You will find lots of highly successful and respected people who publish almost exclusively in book form – either by writing complete monographs or by contributing chapters to edited volumes. I do not find anything wrong with this culture (except for the fact that publications will usually be German only and that only little non-German debate will be acknowledged in many of these publications). But, as everybody that is on the academic job market these days knows: those darned international peer-reviewed articles are what job descriptions and scholarship programs request with growing force.

Because of that pressure, I decided to overcome my reservations and prior frustrations regarding peer-review. As always, once you have jumped on a new ship, you like it and think it is the best thing in the world. So now I am happy to be able to say: I am one of them! A real scientist with a peer-reviewed publication in a well ranked international journal. So, this is a cause for celebration for me. In addition, getting this published also showed some of the good sides of peer-review, since I got really useful and encouraging feedback, which definitely improved the article.

The article is called Space, materiality and the contingency of action: a sequential analysis of the patient’s file in doctor—patient interactions and it has been published in the June 2009 issue of Discourse Studies. This is the abstract:

Focusing on the multi-dimensionality of interactional settings, this study analyzes how the material world is a significant factor in the sequential co-production of the video-taped doctor—patient interactions. The analysis shows how a material artifact, the patient’s file, is relevant in two ways: a) as a device which is employed in the sequential organization of the interaction. The patient’s file is being used in the contexts of topic development and topic change. b) The file with its specific physical and symbolic features is being co-produced and contested by both actors as a knowledge reservoir. Further inspection of the interactions in concert with theoretical reflections of the role of space and materiality suggests that interactions should be interpreted as happening in spatially arranged constellations of material objects and actors. In these both rigid and flexible constellations boundaries are established, access is distributed, and meaning is solidified.

It is a real conversation analysis (CA) piece, something that I am quite proud of since I really enjoy CA even though I do not have the opportunity to work in this field as much as I would like to.