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Råd och ruelse: Moral och samtalsstrategier i Giftinformationscentralens telefonrådgivning
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2001 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Advice and Remorse : Morality and Conversational Strategies in Calls to the Swedish Poison Information Centre (English)
Abstract [en]

In many different kinds of institutional discourse, the agenda concerns issues that have strong moral implications for the layperson. The present study deals with one such type of discourse, citizens’ calls to the Swedish Poison Information Centre (PIC). The PIC runs a hotline where citizens and medical professionals can get advice about how to treat a possible poisoning. The main aim of the thesis is to identify the types of face threats in these calls and to examine the consequences these have for the interaction. In connection with this, two other subjects are studied: 1) the formulation and giving of advice, and 2) the interactional consequences of the professional party’s distrust regarding the caller’s intentions behind contacting the institution.

The material consists of a corpus of 377 authentic citizen calls to the PIC. The calls, transcribed in extenso, amount to more than 17 hours of audiotaped data.

The analysis has been made using methods from Conversation Analysis (CA), combined with the theory of face and face-saving. However, the analysis mostly builds on findings in conversation analytic work regarding sensitive subjects, rather than on Brown & Levinson’s politeness theory.

The study shows that the PIC calls mostly contain measures taken by both the pharmacist and the caller in order to save the face of the caller. Further, it is found that not all face threats are created by the other party in the conversation. There are two important types of face-threat that originate outside of the conversation and have not been made relevant in the conversation until the caller takes measures against them. Those threats concern the caller’s decision to contact the PIC and the caller’s responsibility regarding the incident. The pharmacist usually ignores the caller’s face-work regarding these conversation-external threats, but can instead become moralizing with regard to the caller’s future actions.

It is also found that the distribution of directive types in calls depends on the presumed seriousness of the problematic substance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2001. , 232 p.
Skrifter, ISSN 0083-4661 ; 55
Keyword [en]
Scandinavian languages - general, institutional discourse, telephone conversation, hotline, conversation analysis, face-saving strategies, morality, interactional asymmetry, poison information centre, poisoning, advice giving, Swedish
Keyword [sv]
Nordiska språk - allmänt
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1432ISBN: 91-506-1486-XOAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1432DiVA: diva2:160958
Public defence
2001-09-28, Hörsal 1, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2001-10-15 Created: 2001-10-15Bibliographically approved

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