Verbal play on the hospital ward: solidarity or power?

GRAINGER, Karen (2004). Verbal play on the hospital ward: solidarity or power? Multilingua: journal of cross-cultural and interlanguage communication, 23 (1-2), 39-59.

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This paper looks at the function of humorous interchanges in the negotiation of roles and identities on an acute geriatric ward. Humour is not often discussed as a feature of interactions between medical professionals and patients, but some authors have noted that joking interactions often characterise care-giving relationships and may be interpreted as a way of easing the face-threat of physical examinations. In many studies, Brown and Levinson’s (1987) theory of politeness is invoked, assuming that joking behaviour is one manifestation of face work, being a form of positive politeness (since it is based on shared knowledge). However, Brown and Levinson’s alternative explanation may be applicable in the hospital ward context: joking may be seen as an exploitation of politeness strategies, wherein the speaker seeks to redefine the face-threatening act through humour. A full account of the relational impact of playful talk needs to take account of both the macro context and the local, sequential unfolding of turns at talk.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © Walter de Gruyter
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 39-59
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2008
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 21:45

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