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The social cognition of medical knowledge, with special reference to childhood epilepsy

MacDonald, Malcolm and Badger, Richard and O'Regan, John (2009) The social cognition of medical knowledge, with special reference to childhood epilepsy. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 6 (3). pp. 176-204. ISSN 1542-7587

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Abstract

This paper arose out of an engagement in medical communication courses at a Gulf university. It deploys a theoretical framework derived from a (critical) sociocognitive approach to discourse analysis in order to investigate three aspects of medical discourse relating to childhood epilepsy: the cognitive processes that are entailed in relating different types of medical knowledge to their communicative context; the types of medical knowledge that are constituted in the three different text types analysed; and the relationship between these different types of medical knowledge and the discursive features of each text type. The paper argues that there is a cognitive dimension to the human experience of understanding and talking about one specialized from of medical knowledge. It recommends that texts be studied in medical communication courses not just in terms of their discrete formal features but also critically, in terms of the knowledge which they produce, transmit and reproduce.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is another paper dealing with the construction of knowledge in social (inc. educational) contexts, which is a common theme in my research. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies is a leading international, US-based journal, and is indexed in relevant international citation lists. The uniqueness and merit of this paper lies in the (critical) sociocognitive approach to medical discourse which it adopts. The paper examines how a specific form of medical knowledge - about childhood epilepsy - is constructed in medical research articles and textbooks, as well as in doctor-patient interviews - where the different types of medical knowledge meet. The paper illustrates how the different texts produce different kinds of medical knowledge, and that this has an effect upon how medical practice is realized. This has potential implications for medical training, but also in the context of this paper for medical communication programmes in the English medium, for example in the Middle East. In this latter context medical texts tend not to be studied in terms of how they produce, transmit and reproduce knowledge. Rather, the focus is on the formal linguistic and rhetorical features of texts. By drawing together discourse practice and medical practice this paper proposes a critical pedagogy of medical communication. This is an electronic version of an article published in MacDonald, Malcolm and Badger, Richard and O'Regan, John (2009) The social cognition of medical knowledge: with special reference to childhood epilepsy. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 6 (3). pp. 176-204. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/15427580903118671
Controlled Keywords: Linguistics, Adult education institution, medical discourse, medical communication, medical knowledge, social cognition, Teun A. Van Dijk, research article, textbook, interview, epilepsy.
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Learning, Curriculum and Communication
IOE Departments > Departments > Culture, Communication and Media
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2010 17:01
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 12:11
URI: http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/5827

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