Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 7, No 1 (2010)

Reconfiguring self/identity/status/role: The case of professional role performance in healthcare encounters

Srikant Sarangi
Issued Date: 27 Mar 2011


Concepts such as self, identity, status and role are central to discourse analytical endeavours. However, these concepts are used interchangeably, and sometimes in a conflated manner (e.g., self-identity, role-identity), by scholars within and across different analytical domains with overlapping ontological and epistemological trajectories. Beginning with a broader theoretical discussion of self, status and identity from sociological and social psychological traditions, in this paper I focus on role and role performance in professional settings. Using Goffman’s work as a bridge I then offer an interactional perspective on role performance which is extended to the doctorpatient relationship in healthcare encounters. The illustrative data examples are taken from the primary care setting, drawing attention to the doctor’s competing roles, i.e., therapeutic and pedagogic, contained within the professional role-set in an ethos which is predominantly steered towards patient-centred healthcare delivery. My main argument is that an examination of professional role-performance at the interactional level is capable of offering interesting theoretical and empirical insights.

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DOI: 10.1558/japl.v7i1.75


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