Communicating misunderstandings: Multi-agency work as social practice

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56 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reflects on the findings of an ethnographic study of interprofessional communication and social relations in an integrated child health service, during and after the relocation of different parts of the service to a single site. In the context of the governmental emphasis on restructuring services in order to facilitate better communication between different disciplines, its findings are of considerable pertinence. The study found that co-location did not straightforwardly lead to better communication. This paper urges that greater attention be paid to the kinds of professional narratives that maintain ritualized ways of working and reinforce professional boundaries. It urges the creation of conditions where everyday practices are open to scrutiny and challenge, and aligns itself with those who call for the development of a 'communication mindset' among professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-216
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jul 2005
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005


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