Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 1–38 | Cite as

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

  • Lars Rune Christensen


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.


Text Intertext Documents Healthcare Literary theory Computer technology 



I am indebted to the great staff at the hospital departments for letting me take up so much of their time. I especially appreciate their openness and patience with me. In addition, Erling Havn’s opinions and careful reading of drafts of the article is greatly appreciated - needless to say, the responsibility for any issues is mine alone. Furthermore, I acknowledge with gratitude the contributions made by the editor and the anonymous reviewers whom helped improve the article markedly through their continued constructive critique and helpful comments. Thank you. Lastly, Morten Visby once again did a great job with the final proof reading.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IT University of CopenhagenCopenhagen SDenmark

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