Inspecting Objects: Visibility Manoeuvres in Laparoscopic Surgery

  • Jeff Bezemer
  • Ged Murtagh
  • Alexandra Cope


In this chapter we explore how surgeons perform inspections inside patients’ bodies prior to making invasive manoeuvres that could damage vital anatomical structures. Drawing on a video corpus of keyhole operations, we show that the inspections are characterised by a distinct set of visibility manoeuvres. We describe these non-invasive operations on anatomical structures as ‘transitive gestures’. Thus the chapter draws attention to the meaning potential of a common, yet hitherto undocumented type of practical-technical surgical action, and demonstrates the relevance of embodied activity as an object of inquiry in (health) communication research.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Imperial College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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