Writing about Caring. Discourses, genres and remediation in elder care


  • Anna-Malin Karlsson Södertörn University
  • Zoe Nikolaidou Södertörn University




elder care, literacy practice, discourse, genre, remediation


In this article we discuss the results of a study within the project Language work as care work. The study focuses on the documentation practices of carers and assistant nurses within three elder care facilities in Sweden. The aim is to explore how representations of work and work content are remediated and recontextualised in some of the key written genres in the nursing home. In this process different discourses, and thus different versions of the practice of caring, are promoted and restrained. In order to show how the literacy practices and written text genres of elder care construe different meanings of caring we closely examine four key genres in the communicative chain and analyse them in terms of genre and discourse. The data discussed here was collected in an ethnographic study lasting eighteen months, using participant observation, qualitative interviews and collection of key texts as the main tools.

Author Biographies

Anna-Malin Karlsson, Södertörn University

Anna-Malin Karlsson is Professor of Swedish Language, specialising in sociolinguistics, at Uppsala University. She received her PhD in Scandinavian Languages from Stockholm University. Her research interests include discourse analysis, ethnographic literacy studies, multimodality and systemic-functional grammar. Her current research involves two overlapping areas: the role played by written texts in work processes and grammatical metaphors in specialised discourse.

Zoe Nikolaidou, Södertörn University

Zoe Nikolaidou is a post-doctoral researcher at Södertörn University, Sweden. She completed her PhD thesis at Lancaster, UK, where she focused on the uses of literacy within vocational education. Her current research focuses on literacy and second languages in the workplace, methodological issues of literacy research and discourse analysis.


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How to Cite

Karlsson, A.-M., & Nikolaidou, Z. (2013). Writing about Caring. Discourses, genres and remediation in elder care. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 8(2), 123–143. https://doi.org/10.1558/japl.v8i2.123