Identity as “knowing your place”: The narrative construction of space in a healthcare profession

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The construction of space in which a story takes place can have important consequences for the evaluation of health interventions. In this article, we explore the ways professionals narratively position themselves in a situation, treating identity literally as “knowing one’s place.” More specifically, we explore the spatial language health professionals use to describe their work. Using descriptions of professionals in a drug habilitation organization, we illustrate how they use route (i.e. an active tour through the space), survey (i.e. a stationary viewpoint from above), and gaze perspectives (i.e. a stable viewpoint onto a place) to explain the work situations they encounter. Each of these perspectives facilitates a different mode of evaluation in terms of distance, emotion, and identity. We propose opportunities for research and implications of the ways in which spaces and spatial perspectives set the scene in the narratives of healthcare professionals
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-337
JournalJournal of health psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • METIS-310260
  • IR-95511


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