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June 2022

''How's the baby doing?'' Struggling with narratives of progress in a neonatal intensive care unit

Journal/Book: Med Anthropol Q. 1996; 10: 4350 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 640, Arlington, VA 22203. Amer Anthropological Assoc. 624-656.

Abstract: In this at once biographical and autobiographical piece (cf. Shapiro 1988), I describe the processes of ''knowledge-making'' of one neonatal intensive care parent. In particular, I investigate the ways that narratives of linear progress informed my efforts to understand my son's condition and future prospects, that is, to engage in lay prognostication. In examining and comparing the three metaphors most commonly used to describe my son's changing condition-roller coaster, graduation, and course-I explore how the discrepancy between narratives of linear progress and the complex and volatile condition of many premature and/or critically ill babies is discursively managed in a neonatal intensive care unit.

Note: Review Layne LL, Rensselaer Polytech Inst, Dept Sci & Technol Studies, Troy,NY 12180 USA

Keyword(s): neonatal intensive care; narratives of linear progress; prognostication; clinical course; knowledge production; CONTINUITY; PARENTS


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