Barton: "Discourse Methods and Critical Practice in Professional Communication: The Front-Stage and Back-Stage Discourse of Prognosis in Medicine"

Barton, Ellen. “Discourse Methods and Critical Practice in Professional Communication: The Front-Stage and Back-Stage Discourse of Prognosis in Medicine.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication 18.1 (2004): 67-111. Web.

 

 

 


 

Author''s Abstract:

 

A set of discourse-based methods—genre theory, genre analysis, and discourse analysis—can provide a descriptive basis for a critical analysis of the multiple connections between discourse practices and their underlying concepts and categories within professions. To illustrate this theoretical and methodological project, this article analyzes prognosis in the discourse of medicine. Using Goffman’s (1959) distinction between frontstage and back-stage discourse, the author suggests that a back-stage discourse of prognosis points to problems with prognosis in the front-stage discourse of medical encounters between oncologists and patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. The analysis shows that the oral genre of treatment discussion in oncology encounters is organized to allow practitioners to do, appear to do, or avoid doing difficult work like presenting a prognosis. The article suggests that discourse-based methods have the potential to become the basis for productive critical engagement between practitioners and researchers in professional communication.

 

Four features of indirectness characterize the sentence-level presentation
of prognosis. Euphemism, word or synctactic complexity, use of vague quantifiers,embedding withing a transition

 

One additional emic category of the medical profession, however,
specifically drives the discourse of prognosis—the category of hope. (102)

 


 

 

 

otc.rstate:question (see 95-96)

 

...does state a question on 70; also "In this article, I propose a different answer to the critical question of why certain discourses are organized as oral genres in medical discourse and perhaps other professional discourses" (73).

 

otc:rp:interpret X

 

otc:rp:describe

 

otc:rset:social,other,cancer center or social,other, clinic or social, other,medical

 

otc:rdgn:ethnography

 

otc:rdcoll:artifact,oral texts

 

otc:rdcoll:interaction,doctor-patient

 

otc:rdcoll:observation,field research

 

otc:datan:discourse analysis

 

otc:datan:other,genre analysis

 

x otc:datack:member check

 

otc:th:genre