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Body Movement and Speech in Medical Interaction
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Book description

This book is based on a substantial collection of video recordings of everyday medical consultations in the UK, and offers a micro-analysis of the visual and vocal aspects of the interaction between doctors and patients. Using actual examples, accompanied by numerous illustrations, Christian Heath explores the moment-by-moment coordination of body movement and speech by and between doctor and patient. He discusses various aspects of medical examination, leave-taking, and the ways in which the participants sustain each other's attention. He also raises certain practical issues of medical work, such as the use of records and computers during the consultation, and the impact of 'bureaucratic' demands on the flow of information between doctor and patient. The book reveals the delicacy and precision which enter into the articulation and synchrony of visual behaviour and speech, and throws light on the systematics - the social organization - underlying the seeming minutiae of everyday life. In this way, it contributes both to our understanding of doctor-patient communication, and to the growing body of research on face-to-face interaction.

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