Managing suspended transition in medicine and law: Liminal hotspots as resources for change

Motzkau, Johanna F. and Clinch, Megan (2017). Managing suspended transition in medicine and law: Liminal hotspots as resources for change. Theory and Psychology, 27(2) pp. 270–289.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354317700517

Abstract

This article explores occasions when professionals in law enforcement and medicine find themselves trapped amidst the paradoxical demands of diagnostic/investigative practice. By juxtaposing research into the experiences of police officers charged with interviewing children who are the alleged victims of sexual abuse, and clinicians tasked with diagnosing and managing contested cases of thyroid disease, the paper develops an understanding of such practice paradoxes as occasions of stalled transition, or liminal hotspots. Drawing on a process theoretical understanding of liminality, the analysis explores the personal, experiential, and affective efficacy of the epistemological framework that both practices share. While liminal hotspots denote paradox stalemates, the paper argues that they are also responsible for recurrent instants of temporary affective unsettledness, and as such can provoke novel thinking and agency towards innovation in practice areas notoriously resistant to change and improvement. Systematizing this property could turn them into resources for change.

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