ISSN : 2266-6060

Our ghosts

Paris, may 2010.

Michèle Grosjean, who left us last saturday, was a very special colleague for a lot of people, especially in the field of French workplace studies. A key member of the ‘Langage et Travail’ network, she was not only a great researcher, but also the nicest person ever. She remains a crucial reference for Scriptopolis for the numerous studies she conducted, notably with another Michèle (Lacoste), in hospitals, especially focussing on writing practices. Looking at this electronic board placed at the entrance of the City Hall, which displays a schedule of meetings and their venue, I can’t help but thinking about their wonderful paper (one of their ‘hits’) about oral and written communication at the workplace. In this paper, they show in details that specific instantiations of the ’same’ information perform completely different situations, and they have a focus on a board thanks to which the schedule of each nurse and doctor is displayed to everyone. These boards, the same that we see here, do not act in the same manner personal agendas or individual cards do. They help the emergence of a rich collective information, thanks to which everybody can understand in a glimpse, at the same moment, not only what she has to do or where she has to go but also what and where her colleagues may be at. Public displays are thus powerful tools to support ‘awareness’: a peripheral attention to the others that works as oil in work mundane adjustments.
For her passion for such details and for her invitation to incessantly chasing them though in-depth ethnographic accounts, Michèle just rejoined the little army of ghosts who haunt our scriptopolian lives.