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Boundary Work

By: Kacey Beddoes | Edited by: Paul Atkinson, Sara Delamont, Alexandru Cernat, Joseph W. Sakshaug & Richard A. Williams Published: 2019 | Length:   2 | DOI: |
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Boundary work is the work done to establish, develop, maintain, cross, navigate, or alter socially constructed boundaries. It is often concerned with credibility in some way (Gieryn, 1999). The boundaries in question can be conceptual, epistemological, ontological, disciplinary, or cultural. Boundary work is an important concept because boundaries play important roles in structuring thought and society, yet they are not natural, given, or inherent—they are accomplished. Understanding the hows, whens, wheres, and whys of those accomplishments sheds light on the social construction of everything from science to gender and race to the dynamics of collaboration. Boundary work can be related to both social and symbolic boundaries:

Symbolic boundaries are conceptual distinctions made by social actors to categorize objects, people, practices, and even time and space. They ...

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