Item Details

Formulation in clinical interviews

Issue: Vol 9 No. 2 (2012)

Journal: Communication & Medicine

Subject Areas: Healthcare Communication Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/cam.v9i2.133


Formulation, according to Garfinkel and Sacks (1986 [1969]), refers to speakers’ ways of talking about the current interaction. This article explores how formulations are used in clinical assessment interviews as a way of providing evidence of the respondent’s capacities that are currently assessed. The videotaped data are drawn from the clinical interviews of unemployed adults and older persons. The data are analyzed using conversation analysis (CA). The article shows how formulation is achieved through vocalized and/or embodied actions (e.g. nodding, index finger pointing), in conjunction with the speaker’s gaze directed to the recipient. It argues that these formulations enable access to the shared epistemic domain of the current interaction. This domain is an interactional achievement and, as a resource, it allows the participants to designate viewpoints regarding the respondent’s social competence. In sum, the paper demonstrates how participants can show an explicit orientation to the interactional substrate of interview.

Author: Mika Simonen

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