Accepted Paper:

Cultivating radiological vision through highlighting  


Peter Winter (University of Sheffield)

Paper short abstract:

Using video footage, I explore highlighting practice in the early stages of radiological vision in the epistemic culture of medicine. My analysis contributes to discussion on the development of professional vision and embodied skill, while contributing insight to a regime of interpretive practice.

Paper long abstract:

STS has previously identified coding and highlighting practices (Goodwin 1994) among radiology professionals in the production and interpretation of medical images. However, as yet there appears to have been no attempt to study the ways in which these practices are learned. My focus then, is on the highlighting practices found in undergraduate medical students' training. I explore the teaching practices of radiologists in an academic setting that is 'backstage' to the clinical and workplace setting. Drawing on Goodwin's notion of professional vision, the paper presents how highlighting work is imbued with meaning for those learning to 'see' or 'read' medical images and shows how highlighting helps to cultivate a radiological vision of normal and abnormal physiologies. Using video footage and novel video analytical techniques, I will show how highlighting practice can take multiple forms such as: hydrographic (specifically the symbolic language of erosion and flood control); and geometric, including shapes such as ellipses, arrows, zig-zags, dots, and 'blobs'. I will also show how the highlighting of lines and shapes had two functions: to make salient physiologies that are present in the x-ray; and to make salient physiologies that are absent in the x-ray. This paper contributes to an understanding of the diverse practices that are used to build professional or radiological vision. Doing so will tease out some of the creative techniques that allows the professional to speak authoritatively on what they see, while imbuing students themselves with epistemic authority in apprenticeship.

Panel T073
Epistemic Regimes - Reconfiguring epistemic quality and the reconstitution of epistemic authority