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The functions of narrative passages in three written online health contexts

Thurnherr, Franziska and Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse and Locher, Miriam A.. (2016) The functions of narrative passages in three written online health contexts. Open Linguistics, 2 (2). pp. 450-470.

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Abstract

This paper investigates and compares the functions of narrative passages in three computer-mediated health practices centering on advice-giving: (1) email counseling at a UK university, (2) online forums providing peer support for smoking quitters, and (3) anti-smoking websites by UK governmental, commercial and charitable institutions. We found that the functions of the narrative passages are manifold and often overlapping. They range from seeking advice, giving advice, indicating/seeking agreement, supporting a claim, showing compliance with advice given to reporting on progress and success. In a second step, these insights were linked to how the narrative passages were used for identity construction and relational work. The results show that narratives are employed to create various identities, such as authentic advice-seekers, active self-helpers, successful quitters and advice-givers. Our comparison reveals that narrative functions utilized in all three practices exhibit nuanced differences due to medium factors and interactional goals of the practices. Finally, in these contexts of self-improvement, narratives document stability or transformation in the sense of clients’ improved health and smokers’ change to becoming non-smokers respectively.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > English Linguistics (Locher)
UniBasel Contributors:Locher, Miriam A. and Thurnherr, Franziska and Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:de Gruyter
ISSN:2300-9969
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:18 Sep 2017 10:35
Deposited On:18 Sep 2017 10:35

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