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Accepted Paper:

Rolling with the punches: transformation as a social world survival strategy  
Sarah B. Evans-Jordan (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)) John-Arne Skolbekken (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU))

Short abstract:

We employ Strauss’ and Clarke’s social worlds work in our situational analysis of the evolution of newborn screening. We analysed threats and countermeasures to social world survival in a complex set of changing contingencies and argue that surviving as a social world involves transformative change.

Long abstract:

Anselm Strauss (1987) observed that changing contingencies can pose a threat to the survival of a social world, something we read as a warning against understanding social worlds as invulnerable and indissoluble. Clarke embraced this potential for precariousness in her incorporation and further development of Strauss’ theory in situational analysis (Clarke, 2005; Clarke, Friese, & Washburn, 2018). We used situational analysis to analyse how newborn screening activities in Norway arose and eventually evolved into what is now understood as an integral part of the Norwegian health services. In our study we saw Strauss’ observation play out at several crossroads and in a variety of forms over the history of the screening services. In this paper, we present our analysis of the various survival strategies employed by social worlds in response to threats to their activities and theorise about conditions both internal and external to the social world which serve as stabilising or destabilising influences upon them. We find that rather than being a straightforward matter of the defence of a social world and the maintenance of its integrity, a feature of the survival of social worlds is the ability to absorb transformational processes. We also see this paper, on theorising the survival of established social worlds, in dialogue with our theorisation of the earliest phases of cooperative work in our situation (Evans-Jordan & Skolbekken, in prep.) and reflect specifically on using the heuristics of situational analysis to theorise work at the boundaries of cooperation and of theory.

Traditional Open Panel P167
World-making and pragmatism: research practices in dialogue
  Session 1