Publication details [#61037]

Caronia, Letizia and Arturo Chieregato. 2016. Polyphony in a ward. Tracking professional theories in members’ dialogues. Language and Dialogue 6 (3) : 395–421.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Contemporary research on the communicative constitution of organization conceives organization as made up of multiple voices embodied in and enacted by the different actors inhabiting this social world. This paper illustrates the inner polyphony at play in the complex and sensitive workplace of an Intensive Care Unit. The study focuses on the diagnostic talk concerning infectious disease and on the communicative resources deployed by physicians to pursue or resist their often conflicting diagnostic trajectories and professional stances toward the use of antibiotics. Adopting a conversation analytical approach to video-recorded morning briefings, this study will illustrate how polyphony characterises the team members’ conduct during this communicative event and the consequences this polyphony has on the decision-making process. As will be illustrated, in this as in most cases, the members of the community appear to be active users of their professional culture, yet are also — and unavoidably — its carriers.