Edited By Maurizio Gotti, Stefania Maria Maci and Michele Sala
In this volume, medical communication is analyzed from various viewpoints: not only from a merely linguistic angle, with a focus on the description of the genres used in medical and healthcare contexts, but also from a social and cultural standpoint, with an emphasis both on the doctor-patient relationship and on the social relevance of the other types of communicative links existing between the many communities involved in this type of interaction.
The study of some of the main fields typical of medical communication has highlighted a considerable variety of themes, data and research methods which are clearly representative of the eclectic interest in this specific domain and of the wide range of approaches developed for its investigation.
As the various chapters show, linguistic analysis proves to be highly applicable to textualizations involving multiple interactions and practices, and several kinds of participants, including different healthcare professionals, trainees and patients.
Experts on Experts: Sustaining ‘Communities of Interest’ in Professional Discourse Studies
Building upon and expanding on a number of earlier publications (Sarangi 1998, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2010; Sarangi/Candlin 2011, Sarangi et al. 2003), this chapter is primarily a practising discourse analyst’s reflections on ‘interpretive repertoires’ surrounding interprofessional collaborative research, with particular reference to the domain of healthcare. In a classic study of scientists’ discourse, Gilbert and Mulkay (1984) draw attention to scientists’ use of two distinct ‘interpretive repertoires’: while the ‘empiricist repertoire’ exemplifies impersonal accounts of scientific discovery and the rules and procedures governing the production of factual knowledge, the ‘contingent repertoire’ appeals to personal motives, biases and intuitions. It is the simultaneity of these two repertoires that gives rise to ‘interpretive variability’. This distinction between empiricist and contingent repertoires easily maps onto the objective-subjective dialectics and also applies to discourse analysts’ accounts of data-based findings. The situation becomes complex when a discourse analyst’s account is subjected to further interpretation by professional practitioners on a collaborative footing.
For many of us, collaborating and partnershipping across disciplinary and professional boundaries is assumed not only to be desirable and value-added, but also as being a smooth operation without visible challenges. Indeed one’s experience of collaboration can be productive, but at times one is confronted with interpretive dilemmas. My own collaboration with professional practitioners in the field of genetics and genetic counselling over the past two decades has yielded many fruits but not without interpretive challenges that underpin the long-term ← 25 | 26 → marriage. The aim here...
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