Social Theory & Health

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 289–308

Scientific uncertainty and the creation of resuscitation guidelines

Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/sth.2009.4

Cite this article as:
Nairn, S. & Timmons, S. Soc Theory Health (2010) 8: 289. doi:10.1057/sth.2009.4


In this paper we show how the medical specialism of resuscitation deals with two substantial difficulties, and how this is achieved rhetorically. The first problem that resuscitation medicine faces is that it is unable, for a variety of reasons, to live up to its own ideals of being scientific and evidence-based. The second problem is that, despite 45 years of technological innovation, the specialism has made little progress in its main aim of saving lives. A range of texts from within resuscitation medicine will be analysed to show the discursive techniques employed by this community to rhetorically overcome these problems, and re-assert the authority of medicine within this sphere.


resuscitation guidelines scientific discourse evidence-based practice critical realism critical discourse analysis 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Nottingham School of Nursing, Derbyshire Royal InfirmaryDerbyUK
  2. 2.University of Nottingham School of Nursing, Queen′s Medical CentreNottinghamUK

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