The social‐interactional organisation of narrative and narrating among stroke patients and their spouses

John F. Manzo, Lee X. Blonder, Allan F. Bums

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This study examines interviews with men who have experienced strokes.‘Control interviews' with persons who had experienced health problems not related to stroke were also conducted, and they are considered here as well. Unlike most studies of stroke patients' linguistic competence, which examine subjects in isolation and in clinical settings, these interviews were conducted in the patients' homes, with the patients' spouses present in all of the interviews. The analysis concerns the ways in which the spouses participate in the telling of narratives that describe the unfolding of the stroke event as such. At the beginning of every interview with stroke patients the interviewers asked what happened during the stroke proper. The spouses' participation in these stories is significant and sustained, whereas the patients' own mastery of such narratives is meagre although the narratives comprise details from their personal somatic experience. We specify several discreet interactional patterns that make up the stroke patients' dearth of agency in these tellings, compare the interactional dynamics in the interviews with ‘control’ patients, and discuss the significance of these interactional minutiae for the patients' well‐being and also for sociological investigations of ‘the brain’ and related issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-327
Number of pages21
JournalSociology of Health & Illness
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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