Summary Term

The article investigates the practices used by members of a profession to view the events by trying to understand the inner language of communication within the profession holders. Two contexts of professional activity are examined: Archeological field excavation and legal argumentation.

In each of these contexts three practices are investigated; coding schemes, highlighting, and the production and articulation of material representations.In both cases the researcher observes not only the language, the oral communication but also the body movement of the participants. As a primary source video tapes are used. The recorded data gives the researcher to conduct a detailed, repeated examination of actual sequences of talk and embodied work practices in the settings where practitioners perform these activities.For the archeological study excavations were videotaped in two archeological schools; one in Argentina and another field work in the USA. For the legal field the edited videotapes of the trial on Mr.

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Rodney King, an African-American motorist who was beaten by police officers, were analyzed.For both activities coding schemes were used as semantic practice to transfer the world into the categories and events that are relevant to the work of the profession. All the events were transcribed into written language. Highlighting is mostly examined in the work of the archeologists, describing how the participants “mark” their work in the field and on a document, a map for example.

The case of Rodney King is vividly introduced and illustrates how a brutal attitude towards a person can be interpreted as compulsory actions from the side of the police officers when viewed by professionals. Here highlighting was used by cropping images and showing in a sequence to view the actions of Rodney King in a better light.The graphic representation and the articulation in both fields is carried out in a thorough way. The article concludes by stressing that professional vision is perspectival, lodged within specific social entities, and unevenly allocated, and the way in which the highlighting structures the perception of others by reshaping a domain of scrutiny so that some phenomena are made salient, while others fade into the background, has strong rhetorical and political consequences.Question: What could be the political consequences of the development of the above described scheme?

Author: Marc Osborne


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