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Title: Translanguaging health : navigating antenatal consultations in a superdiverse setting
Author: Brooks, Emma Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 3561
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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Against the backdrop of an established literature on doctor/patient relationships and mediated intercultural health interaction, this thesis uses a linguistic ethnographic lens to illuminate the complex communicative considerations of contemporary antenatal consultations, in a superdiverse London hospital. At a time when the NHS is compelled to respond to evolving and rapidly changing populations, and given its own increasingly international workforce, the study explores how such diversity is construed and navigated in institutional and practical terms, whilst simultaneously drawing attention to emergent communicative features which are said to be inherent to heterogeneous populations. Over a period of six months, twelve antenatal appointments were observed, recorded and transcribed, before being analysed, using methods associated with interactional sociolinguistics. Moving away from traditional notions of fixity, findings appear to indicate that, in the (frequent) absence of a professional interpreter, or proficiency in the dominant language associated with institutional and national concerns, participants draw on the breadth of their linguistic and semiotic resources to navigate understanding. Recognition of linguistic hybridity/bricolage extends the concept of a translanguaging space to institutional settings, allowing creativity and flexibility to flourish, especially for individuals in possession of, what has been referred to as, a translanguaging instinct. Indeed, midwives appear to disrupt understandings of medical discourse as asymmetrical, as they seek to establish an atmosphere of conviviality. Yet tensions lie in the epistemological emancipation and parity that the conditions of superdiverse consultations seem to imply. While the pursuit of clarity may be facilitated by flexible repertoires, such circumstances may obscure issues of participant comprehension, and therefore hold the potential for situational, or clinical, consequences. Similarly, although languaging practices appear to transcend bounded notions of language, they nevertheless remain contingent on the flexibility of the personal and institutional affordances available – the instigation of which ultimately rest with those in positions of authority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available