By Anssi Peräkylä

Conversations among AIDS counselors and their consumers convey gentle and very likely threatening concerns into play. during this examine Anssi Per?kyl? applies the foundations of dialog research to his exploration of AIDS counseling, utilizing facts from video-recorded counseling periods in a London educating health facility, and analyzes the layout and site of questions in those events. His conclusions supply a well timed and illuminating perception into the administration of a delicate subject via a number of suggestions of indirectness.

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Additional info for AIDS Counselling: Institutional Interaction and Clinical Practice (Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics)

Example text

Introduction 35 the context of counselling. I have narrowed down the phenomena to be explored very simply, by concentrating on those activities in counselling which have as their vehicle questions and answers. This means that I have not studied in any great detail information and advice-giving (which are a central part of any AIDS counselling; but see Silverman et al. 1992), nor the counsellors' concluding 'interventions' (which are an essential aspect of the Family Systems technique). The question-answer-based activities that I have chosen as the objects of this study are as follows.

6 The orientation to structures as normative standards can be seen very clearly in the case of adjacency pairs, such as questions and answers. At the most basic level, of course, evidence for the participants' orientation to the adjacency-pair structure is supplied by all the people who answer after they have been asked questions. But apart from this regularity of conduct, there are also more subtle indications of the orientation. Following Merritt (1976: 329; Atkinson and Drew 1979: 52-7) the following recurrent phenomena indicate the participants' orientation to the adjacency-pair structure as a normative standard.

A critic can hear Sharrock and Anderson arguing that in CA the actors are necessarily treated merely as 'cogs in the wheels' in the machinery of conversation, rather than actors engaged in a meaningful activity. However, at the root of Conversation Analytical research there is another kind of current. Conversation is understood as a major site - possibly the major site - for the creation and maintenance of intersubjective understanding. This has been pointed out by Heritage and Atkinson, among others, who write that 'a context of publicly displayed and continuously updated intersubjective understandings is systematically sustained' through the talk (1984: 11).

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