Journal article

Passing-by 'Ca va?' checks in clinic corridors

Published in:
  • Semiotica. - 2017, vol. 215, p. 1-42
English We have conducted a video-based field study on work interactions between staff members in the corridors of a hospital outpatient clinic in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In this paper, we examine a specific mobile interactional configuration: passing-by interactions in which staff members get involved as they walk following close and parallel trajectories going in opposite directions. We also examine a specific conversational activity performed in the corridors: checks – introduced by the French expression “Ça va?” (Going okay?) – with which one staff member verifies that the situation of a colleague conforms to a routine state of affairs. Adopting the approaches of multimodal and conversation analysis, we point out features of the interactional configuration and the conversational activity under consideration that participants combine in some excerpts analyzed in the paper. Passing-by checks are practically accomplished, on the spot, through the sequential, embodied and embedded conduct of the staff members. We identify resources involved in building close but non- convergent trajectories, limiting interactional involvement, and coordinating talk and walk for a fleeting co-presence. The article contributes to the study of “on-the-move” contingent interactions as they happen in hospital corridors.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département des sciences sociales
  • English
Demography, sociology, statistics
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