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"Should we make a start then?": A strange case of (delayed) Client-initiated psychological assessment

McHoul, A. and Rapley, M. (2002) "Should we make a start then?": A strange case of (delayed) Client-initiated psychological assessment. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 35 (1). pp. 73-91.

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Starting with Sacks's (1992) conjecture about there being "omni-relevant devices" in specific kinds of conversation (but by no means in all conversation), we subject that conjecture to empirical analysis. To accomplish this, we examine a data fragment taken from a corpus of materials in which "resettled" mental patients are undergoing "quality of life" assessments. Part of the analysis shows how such devices are produced and oriented to in an actual case of talk. Another part of the analysis shows the artfulness, skill, and competence that so-called mentally retarded persons can exhibit in their use and appropriation of such devices. It turns out that these 2 matters are interestingly connected. Finally, we reflect on how this analysis may have consequences for the supposed difference between "conversational" and "institutional" versions of language and social interaction.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
Publisher: Routledge as part of Taylor & Francis
Copyright: 2002 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
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