Communicating Health and Illness


Richard Gwyn

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
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    For my parents


    This book has evolved through the first three years of teaching a module in Health Communication to final year undergraduates at Cardiff University. The responses and positive feedback from students has been a source of encouragement, while any difficulties they might have had with some of the material has likewise been of benefit in the development of this book. They have, by and large, been a pleasure to teach.

    Several sections of the book have been previously published elsewhere and I would like to acknowledge the publishers of Social Science and Medicine, Health, and Narrative Inquiry and two edited books: Researching and Applying Metaphor (Cambridge University Press) and Narrative Based Medicine (BMJ Books) for material reproduced in chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6.

    Grateful acknowledgement is also made to copyright holders for the reproduction of material from The Western Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail, George magazine and the BBC. Every effort has been made to obtain permission from copyright holders: if there are any errors or omissions please inform the publisher, so that subsequent editions can be adjusted accordingly.

    Thanks are also due to Julia Hall, who first asked me to write the book, and to Seth Edwards and Rosie Maynard at Sage for their advice, encouragement, and professionalism.

    The many people, either themselves ill or else who speak of the illness or loss of loved ones within these pages deserve special particular acknowledgement. I hope that I have not done a disservice to their words and emotions, and thank them for taking part in the work that has made this book possible.

    I am particularly grateful to colleagues and friends at Cardiff University for reading early versions, or parts of, the book, notably Justine Coupland, Adam Jaworski, Srikant Sarangi, Nik Coupland and Joanna Thornborrow. I also offer thanks to Derek Edwards, Deborah Lupton and unknown readers for helpful comments about my work. Especial acknowledgement and thanks are due to Glyn Elwyn, medical colleague and co-author on two of the papers from which I have drawn in this book.

    Finally, as ever, my thanks to Rose, Sioned and Rhiannon, for putting up with it all.



    Key to Transcription Symbols

    [simultaneous or overlapping utterances
    =contiguous utterances
    [ ]1) unclear utterances (estimation of utterance given inside brackets): if no words can be discerned, estimated number of syllables is given; if number of syllables cannot be discerned, the word ‘unclear’ is written inside the brackets
    2) descriptions of non-verbal activity or noise e.g. [laughing]
    (.)pause of less than one second
    (3.0)length of longer pauses (in seconds)
    ?functional question
    !animated utterance
    ‘ ’in longer narrative passages involving reported speech inverted commas are occasionally used to establish provenance of an utterance
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