Panel: Global Transitions in Health Care [The 15th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA2017)]

Registration deadline

The proposed panel aims at bringing together an international group of pragmatics scholars working on health communication, and in particular the issues related to global transitions in health care. In a broader area of workplace communication transitions are typically understood as periods of change and discontinuity in professional life space (e.g. Westerman, 2012: 11). Much has been written about transitions in the workplace, particularly in the contexts of career change, novice-expert experiences, inter-organizational job change, and organizational mergers and acquisitions. In this panel we take a more comprehensive view of transitions by acknowledging that transitions encompass both changes, discontinuities, advancement and development, as well as preservation, continuity, and possibly even stagnation in professional life spaces. The focus of the panel is on transitions brought about by globalization of healthcare, namely spatial and symbolic mobility brought about by various social, historic and economic processes, and the effects of such mobility on healthcare deliveries. The panel participants will investigate transitions that concern various participants of healthcare encounters (i.e. healthcare professionals and patients/ clients), as well as transitions in the modes of provision of healthcare services. A more comprehensive take on transitions will be reflected in the analyses of transitions at three different levels, namely, how the global macro-transitions (e.g. spatial/ geographical mobility of healthcare professionals’ and patients’ population around the globe; global healthcare services delivery across countries and continents) are interrelated with and impact on (as well as are impacted on) by meso-transitions (within specific institutions and communities) and micro-transitions that are manifest at the level of language use (also see Angrouri et al., in press; Marra et al., in press).

To investigate transitions, the participants of the panel will draw on a range of empirical data. While previous research on transitions in healthcare has primarily drawn on participants’ accounts of transitions experiences (e.g. in interviews or questionnaires), in this panel participants will explore how transitions are actually experienced and managed in real life through talk and text. Undoubtedly, managing transitions involves acquiring ‘new’ and adopting ‘old’ discourses and linguistic resources, skills, and appropriate ways of doing things. The participants of this panel will examine how transitions are represented and manifest in language use and the role of language in mediating transition experiences. Among the issues that the participants will engage with are the effect of lingua franca on healthcare service deliveries, the role of pragmatic competence in intercultural healthcare encounters, and healthcare delivery via remote communication technologies. Importantly, the international group of panel participants will contribute to illuminating perspectives on global transitions in healthcare from the main stream research on English-dominant contexts, as well as the research on non-English dominant contexts that remains largely underrepresented, thus providing an innovative comparative angle to pragmatic studies on transitions in healthcare.

Angouri, J., Marra, M. and Holmes, J. (eds.). (in press). Negotiating Boundaries at Work. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Marra, M., Holmes, J. and Kidner, K. (in press). Transitions and interactional competence: Negotiating boundaries through talk. To appear in L. Fillettaz, S. Pekarek Doehler and C. Petitjean (eds.), Interactional Competences in Institutional Settings: From School to the Workplace.

Westerman, M. (2012). Mind the gap; the transition to hospital consultant. Amsterdam: Gildeprint Drukkerijen, Enschede.


Olga Zayts, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Mariana Lazzaro-Salazar, Universidad Católica del Maule, Chile
Contact person
Olga Zayts; Mariana Lazzaro Salazar