Introduction: Discourse, expertise, and the management of risk in health care settings

Candlin, Christopher N. and Candlin, Sally (2002). Introduction: Discourse, expertise, and the management of risk in health care settings. Journal of Research on Language and Social Interaction, 35(2) pp. 115–137.



This special issue identifies three interrelated constructs-discourse, expertise, and the definition and management of risk-located in various health care sites: genetic counseling, nursing, and medical practice. The articles highlight the relation between the management of risk situations and the nature of expertise displayed or achieved by practitioners and their patients or clients. Professional expertise is differentiated and multifaceted, concerning not only the exercise of discipline-specific professional practices and behaviors but also intimately related to the management of discoursal practices. The articles suggest that health care outcomes can be related closely to the quality of the discoursal encounters between professional practitioners and their patients or clients, among professional practitioners themselves, or both. The research we present evidences differentiated goals and outcomes from a range of professional encounters. It focuses especially on the resource of discoursal strategies drawn on in the achievement of discoursal and professional goals by both professional and lay participants.

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