The title of this book includes the word ‘assembling’, a term that we shamelessly poached from Latour’s (2005) introduction to actor-network theory. The verb assembling is a evocative term as it suggests that something is being brought together, compiled, put into action in an almost haphazard manner, as a form of bricolage or tinkering, using what is at hand. Such a view of ‘the social’ (Latour, 2005) or health care work is in conflict with common-sense thinking assuming that society is once and for all firmly being settled. As, for instance, Carruthers and Babb (1996: 1556) remark, social institutions such as money works best when they can be taken for granted, when they can simply be assumed. Institutions also rest, Carruthers and Babb (1996: 1558) argue, on the combination of naturalization and forgetfulness — a mindful forgetting of the work and negotiations initially needed to put the institution into place. Against such views, the verb assembling is indicating an entirely different view, a dynamic and fluid image of how society and social organization is an ongoing accomplishment characterized by the continuous mobilization of equally abstract and concrete resources. In the first two chapters of the book, the principal resources mobilized in health care work are institutional resources, the totality of abstract norms, beliefs, ideologies, assumptions guiding and structuring everyday work, and material resources, the tool, machines, equipment, biological specimens and so forth, being used.
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