Susan Popham’s article “Forms as Boundary Genres in Medicine, Science, and Business,” looks specifically at the discipline of medicine.  She looks at the writing forms such as a patient examination form or a patient visit form, among others, as boundary objects. She uses these forms as boundary objects to show the evidence of tension and conflict between the discipline of medicine, science, and business.

She begins by considering Foucault’s argument that “relationships between disciplines are frequently characterized by competition, tension, and hierarchies” (Popham, 279). The forms, such as the patient examination form, become the boundary objects/genres where these disciplines rub up against each other and can cause tension. In the case of the patient examination form, this is where science and medicine meet at the boundary. The form “work to cast the physician in the role of the objective and authoritative scientist, minimizing the patient’s input, agency, and humanity” (Popham, 288). She also makes clear that these boundary objects are not neutral, or necessarily positive, and that it is an important point to keep in mind.

Patient Examination Form & Authority

The Patient examination form section stuck out the most to me, because it seems to discuss the lack of agency and humanity of the patient in the situation, which I absolutely agree with. It also, however, diminishes the humanity of the doctor, where they are placed within the constraints of the form and may adhere to it so rigorously, that they fail to consider that the form is not entirely objective and that neither are they. And recording the observable “facts” are not the only job that they have. It was interesting to see the tension here, because science seems to be seen in such positive ways, but there are limitations and constraints, as well as affordances to seeing things only in scientific ways, sometimes to the detriment of the doctor and/or patient.

Connections to the OoS

Screenshot from World of Warcraft taken by me. I’m a whale 😀

I’ve kind of been struggling with trying to apply the readings to my OoS. I’m glad we’ve had the time to do some of these readings before the first Case Study, because I think I need to change mine in order to be able to apply the theory in a way that will work for me. Perhaps the reason this reading stuck out to me was because I was able to see how forms as boundary genres might be useful in discussing a game like World of Warcraft. I was able to think about genre expectations within the gaming community as well as where boundary objects within WoW exist that mash up against different gaming genres and the places that create tension. For example, the creation of mini games within WoW has received both negative and positive feedback, they are a boundary object as they fit within the fantasy rpg elements of the game, but also adhere to casual or mobile games. I also thought in terms of the discipline of game studies and because it is so interdisciplinary that WoW might act as a boundary object because a lot of people from different disciplines use WoW as an object of study.

Basically, I felt that I finally had ways of relating the readings to an OoS. I’m not sure I’m able to make connections to the PlayStation Network. It’s probably more of an issue with me than it as an OoS, but I definitely feel more comfortable changing the OoS to a game like World of Warcraft. 


Popham, Susan L. “Forms as Boundary Genres in Medicine, Science, and Business.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 19 (2005): 279-303.  Web. 1 Feb. 2016.

Blizzard Entertainment. World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Activision Blizzard, 2012. Online.


I’ll leave you with a selfie, taken in game, where I took a picture with the Lich King before I took over Icecrown Citadel. 🙂

Screenshot taken by me from World of Warcraft