Chapter 5Epistemic “Struggles”
When nurses’ expert identity is challenged by “knowledgeable” clients
This chapter examines telephone consultations between genetic nurses and new mothers whose infants have been diagnosed with the hereditary condition G6PD deficiency. These consultations aim at informing the mothers about the condition and its management. We focus on interactions with so-called “knowledgeable mothers”, in which participants’ epistemic statuses (knowledgeable nurses vs. less knowledgeable mothers) and their related identities (e.g. expert – lay person) are challenged. We examine how the participants discursively negotiate each other’s epistemic authority, while simultaneously constructing specific identities for themselves and others. We show that epistemic “struggles” become an integral part of achieving the aim of these consultations, namely that the mothers are able to manage the condition of their infants.
- The roles and identities of nurses
Establishing and orienting to participants’ epistemic statuses in the process of negotiating each other’s identities
- Discussion and conclusion