Otherness in the Clinical Borderlands

  • Dana Kovarsky University of Rhode Island
Keywords: language, culture & disability, clinical discourse and cultural borderlands, otherness and clinical interaction

Abstract

Clinical practice represents a kind of cultural borderland territory bringing together people from different walks of life with distinctive social experiences and expectations related to gender, age, status, and health, to name a few, who otherwise might not encounter one another (Mattingly, 2010). In these borderland encounters, culture is realized and made relevant during moments of social differentiation. This paper focuses on how such social differences manifest themselves in clinical discourse through encounters with otherness—otherness referring to a negative cultural capacity to transform those who are different into devalued Others. Interrelated themes of space, change and transformation, group membership categorization, and the structuring of participation in clinical interaction are used as an exploratory framework to illuminate the construction of otherness. By conceiving of the clinical world as a territory where otherness is woven into the experiences of those we are seeking to help, it is hoped that practitioners will be encouraged to develop a more nuanced understanding of clinical practice as cultural borderlands.

Author Biography

Dana Kovarsky, University of Rhode Island

Dana Kovarsky is professor and chair of the Department of Communicative Disorders. Currently, he teaches a course examining the relations between language, culture and communication disorders. In the past, he has also taught courses on language development, research methods and the structural analysis of language. After completing his postdoctoral fellowship where he focused on investigations into the ethnography of communication disorders, he worked at Appalachian State University and then Wayne State University before going to the University of Rhode Island.

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Published
2019-01-17
How to Cite
Kovarsky, D. (2019). Otherness in the Clinical Borderlands. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 9(1), 114-140. https://doi.org/10.1558/jircd.36206
Section
Articles