Claiming Power in Doctor-Patient Talk

Paperback | June 1, 1998

byNancy Ainsworth-Vaughn

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Nancy Ainsworth-Vaughn studied stories, topic control, "true" questions, and rhetorical questions in 101 medical encounters in US private-practice settings. In exceptionally lucid and accessible style, Ainsworth-Vaughn explains how power was claimed by and co-constructed for both patients anddoctors (previous studies have focused upon doctors' power). The discourse varied along a continuum from interview-like talk to conversational talk. Six chapters are organized around data and include extended examples of actual talk in detailed transcription; four of these data-oriented chaptersfocus upon dynamic, moment-to-moment use of speech activities in emerging discourse, such as doctors' and patients' stories that co-constructed selves, and a patient's sexual rhetorical questions. Two more chapters offer non-statistical quantitative data on the frequency of questioning and suddentopic changes in relation to gender, diagnosis, and other factors. Contributing to discourse theory, Ainsworth-Vaughn significantly modifies previous definitions for topic transitions and rhetorical questions and discovers the role of storytelling in diagnosis. The final chapter providesimplications for physicians and medical educators.

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Nancy Ainsworth-Vaughn studied stories, topic control, "true" questions, and rhetorical questions in 101 medical encounters in US private-practice settings. In exceptionally lucid and accessible style, Ainsworth-Vaughn explains how power was claimed by and co-constructed for both patients anddoctors (previous studies have focused upon ...

Nancy Ainsworth-Vaughn is Associate Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University. She is also the author of Current Topics in Language (1976).
Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.09 × 5.98 × 0.59 inPublished:June 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019509607X

ISBN - 13:9780195096071

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"The book is very interesting, both for social scientists and for ethicists. It actually is a good example of research bridging the gap between the two disciplines, as empirical work is clearly directed by normative considerations, but also gives rise to normative conclusions. The basicclaim of the book is provoking; its argumentation is clear and convincing. The book unravels widespread myths...The book is itself a powerful story about the medical encounter."--Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy