TROUBLES TALK AND COUNSELING DISCOURSE: A Comparative Study

  • Miller G
  • Silverman D
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Abstract

Counseling is a pervasive activity in contemporary institutional life. This article focuses on the ways in which troubles-as socially constructed realities-are talked into being in two counseling settings: a British hemophilia center that counsels individuals who have become HIV-positive through the transfusion of infected blood products and a family therapy center in the United States. Drawing upon conversation analytic studies of "troubles talk," three major topical and interactional continuities in the two settings are revealed. They involve trouble definitions, trouble remedies, and accessing the social contexts of clients' troubles. Using ideas from Foucault, the article analyzes counseling as a professional technology for inciting troubles talk. As such, counseling functions as one of a variety of institutional discourses within which troubles talk may be elicited and organized, power moves, and people may be constructed as objects of power. The article thus serves as an initial attempt to synthesize strands of Foucauldian and conversation analytic work at an empirical, rather than purely theoretical, level. CR - Copyright © 1995 Midwest Sociological Society

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Authors

  • Gale Miller

  • David Silverman

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