Talking cleanliness in health and agriculture

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Inst of Science and Society


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.


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Koteyko N (2008) Modern matrons and infection control practices: aspirations and realities in British Journal of Infection Control

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Koteyko N (2008) Discourse of 'transformational leadership' in infection control. in Health (London, England : 1997)

Description We set out to study the language of biosecurity, hygiene and cleanliness in UK government, healthcare and agricultural policies and compare it with language used by key practitioners dealing with MRSA and the threat of avian flu, such as modern matrons and poultry farmers. Our aim was to examine how different agencies formulate issues, construct arguments and prioritise different practices and situated logics. We assembled a multidisciplinary team with expertise in nursing, the social study of health and illness, environmental studies and linguistics, especially corpus linguistics, discourse analysis and metaphor analysis. Our aim was to find answers to the following questions:

• How do government policies, media reporting and the local knowledge of modern matrons interact with the way people construct issues of 'everyday' cleanliness and hygiene on the ground?

• What implications do similarities and differences between policy and practitioner narratives have for the implementation of policy and good practice?

To achieve these aims the project has successfully

• Examined how issues of cleanliness in hospitals are addressed in policy discourse (WP1).

• Determined how these issues are portrayed in the UK media (WP2).

• Analysed how matrons and infection control personnel talk about cleanliness in the context of the threat from healthcare associated infections (WP3)

• Investigated, compared and evaluated language use for qualitative and quantitative patterns of discourse (WP4).

• Tested the utility of combining methods of critical discourse analysis with those of corpus linguistics.

This project complements other work on the language and politics of infectious diseases and on the discursive and metaphorical framing of infectious diseases, carried out in relation to foot and mouth disease and SARS, for example (Nerlich et al., 2002; Wallis/Nerlich, 2005; Washer, 2006). One of the lessons learned from these epidemics is that the way people communicate about a threat largely determines how they are likely to understand it and behave toward it. As Powers and Xiao put it with reference to the 'social construction of SARS', "[w]e communicate ourselves into a particular way of thinking and acting" (Powers/Xiao, eds., in press).
Exploitation Route infection control, disease management We contributed to the development of a hand-hygiene learning toy
Sectors Healthcare