Communication & Medicine, Vol 8, No 3 (2011)

‘I think Danish patients would feel the same’: Counter-discourses emerging in the Danish health sector

Inger Lassen, Jeanne Strunck
Issued Date: 29 Jun 2012


This article argues that the discourse of culture and ethnicity that has so far been found to dominate health sector communication about ethnic minority patients is being challenged by voices indicating alternative ways of talking about the cultural meeting. This assumption is corroborated by data from interviews with nurses, who construct themselves discursively as members of a nursing profession divided between institutional concerns and concerns about the individual needs of patients. In a ward with many ethnic minority patients these concerns will invariably invite reflections on the nature and significance of culture, and to what extent cultural difference is a meaningful concept in nursing practice, and our results have pointed to a counter-discourse emerging in part of the Danish health sector. The analysis presented here is based on data from a project in which we explore how health professionals and ethnic minority patients talk about culture in a specific Danish hospital ward and how this may have implications for staff-patient relationships. Our theoretical and methodological approach is mainly Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough 1992 [1999]; van Dijk 2008; Reisigl & Wodak 2001).

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v8i3.223


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