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Abstract

The article explores how we can account for the materiality of communicative media in studies of recurrent communicative practices and the associated boundaries among participating communities. It does so by merging the insights from the practice-oriented genre and boundary object literatures with a notion of materiality in communication. Data from a field study in an emergency room illustrates how doctors and nurses holding diverse interests and practices negotiate the implementation of a patient tracking genre. The emergency room staff struggles with the interdependencies of the new medium, genre elements (i.e., participants, time, place, content, format, and purpose), and their division of knowledge and labor. A boundary object and materiality infused genre theory allows us to articulate the relations among recurrent and typified communication practices and (1) their continuity and change, (2) materiality, and (3) communal boundaries.

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