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    Managing the (in)visibility of chronic illness at work: dialogism, parody, and reported speech

    Thompson, Laura and Ford, H. and Stroud, A. and Madill, A. (2019) Managing the (in)visibility of chronic illness at work: dialogism, parody, and reported speech. Qualitative Health Research 29 (8), pp. 1213-1226. ISSN 1049-7323.

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    Interactionally, the workplace may be dilemmatic for a person with ‘invisible’ chronic illness. Risks of stigmatization exist if they disclose their condition to colleagues. Meanwhile, not disclosing threatens wellbeing and entitlements. Using Bakhtin’s (1984) dialogism as a theoretical framework, we explored these social aspects of illness: inductively analyzing narratives from 20 participants with MS. Capitalizing on concepts from Dialogical and Conversation Analysis, links between (in)visibility, knowledge, and belief were examined with respect to symptoms and co-worker judgment. Perceived medical legitimacy creates a core social dilemma. At the intersection of genre and action, participants systematically used parody to subvert the traditional workplace hierarchy. ‘Oh-prefaced’ direct reported speech (OPDRS) was deployed to exaggerate workplace interactions, undermining managers/colleagues who misattributed (in)visible symptoms. Parodic OPDRS index emotive interactional dilemmas. As subversions of organizational power, OPDRS denote those very areas where employees feel disempowered. Sensitivity to OPDRS can provide diagnostic support and complement evaluation frameworks.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Business School
    Research Centres and Institutes: Sustainable Working Life, Centre for
    Depositing User: Laura Thompson
    Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2019 15:38
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:47


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