Third-party turns and shared knowledge: Supports and challenges to disabled people in social care and research settings

Authors

  • Val Williams University of Bristol
  • Sue Porter University of Bristol

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v12i1.30178

Keywords:

conversation analysis, disability, epistemics, multi-party talk, person-centredness, self-selection

Abstract

Adopting a conversation analysis (CA) perspective, this paper explores data which include disabled people in three-party contexts, where the institutional goal is to focus on the wishes, voice and agency of the disabled person. It explores 274 occasions where a third party self-selects for a turn, during social care planning meetings and research interviews. Five broad action patterns are discussed, showing how third parties used their epistemic closeness to the disabled person in order to (1) clarify, (2) respond, (3) prompt, (4) expand and (5) challenge. The sequential consequence of these turns depended on how they were heard and taken up by other parties in the talk. The vast majority of third-party turns could be glossed as supportive to the disabled person. Third parties displayed their sensitivity towards the precise moment that they were ‘needed’ in the talk. Occasionally, there were challenges and counterinformings done by the third party, which could be analysed as ‘epistemic traps’. These moments signaled tensions between the best interests of the disabled person and the imperative to foreground their voice.

Author Biographies

Val Williams, University of Bristol

Val Williams received her PhD at the Open University in England, carrying out a conversation analysis of inclusive research with people with intellectual disabilities. Her work, and that of the Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, is closely involved with disabled people, their interests, and their voice. She is particularly interested in applying conversation analysis to real life situations, where the findings can make a difference.

Sue Porter, University of Bristol

Sue Porter is a qualified social worker, and a qualitative researcher at the Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, with a PhD in narrative research and skills in critical disability studies. She has a keen interest in the rights of disabled people to exercise autonomy in their lives.

Published

2016-06-07

How to Cite

Williams, V., & Porter, S. (2016). Third-party turns and shared knowledge: Supports and challenges to disabled people in social care and research settings. Communication and Medicine, 12(1), 71-83. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v12i1.30178

Issue

Section

Articles