Toward a praxeological account of performing surgery

Overcoming methodological and technical constraints


  • Satomi Kuroshima Tamagawa University
  • Jonas Ivarsson University of Gothenburg



multisensoriality, multimodality, practical reasoning, sensation, touch, perception, knowledge


Surgical operations are fundamentally comprised of multisensorial and multimodal activities. As surgical work involves professional and technical skills that entail a multitude of sensorial information, various methodological difficulties and technical constraints emerge for analysts. Subjective sensations and feedback received during the participants' constructed actions may not be available to outsiders, and the privilege of studying surgical operations is not always guaranteed for the fieldworker. However, as practical surgical tasks are constructed from the routine progression of mundane activities, technical and methodological difficulties can be overcome, confirming the perspicuous nature of surgical operations for social scientists as outsiders. In this report, the researchers describe their fieldwork experiences in two different types of operating rooms—gastroenterology surgical operations in a Japanese context and endovascular aortic repairs in a Swedish context—with a specific focus on how they controlled the technical challenges. This demonstrates the value of surgical operations as a site for scientific investigation independent of expert knowledge about surgery.


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How to Cite

Kuroshima, S., & Ivarsson, J. (2021). Toward a praxeological account of performing surgery: Overcoming methodological and technical constraints. Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality, 4(3).