Under the Knife: Anatomising Organisation Theory
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In an Open University programme on ‘cell structure and function’ there is an incredibly detailed demonstration of how a rat’s kidney is prepared for biological study. Luckily (for my sensibilities, at least) the initial stages of killing and dissecting the rat to obtain its kidney are omitted (see Birke, 1994; Hubbard and Birke, 1995). However, everything that follows this is premised on death and fragmentation. The kidney is first of all sliced into paper thin pieces. One piece is then put through a large number of processes to ‘fix’ it, so that the structures will stay in place and not merge, and ‘stain’ it, so that these structures can be differentiated under the microscope. The whole process is acknowledged to be ‘denaturing’; it is also extremely dextrous work. Finally, the fragment, bearing no resemblance to an organ, let alone an animal, is attached to a microscope slide and the ‘true’ scientific work of examining its parts can begin.
KeywordsBody Image Organisation Theory Organisation Study Disciplinary Field Bounded Entity
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