ERIC Number: ED173886
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-May
Reference Count: 0
Who Pushed the Button to Drop the A-bomb? Contexts and Conversation in a Nursing Home.
Sigman, Stuart J.
A five-month ethnographic study of conversations in a Philadelphia nursing home revealed some of the rules governing situationally appropriate conversational behavior. The social communicational perspective of the study differed from both psychological and discourse analysis approaches. Analysis of the data indicated that sustained resident/resident and resident/staff conversations were rare, that male/female resident contact was discouraged by staff members and feared by female residents, and that staff/patient conversational relationships centered around three broad nursing home-related topic categories. In addition, patients' discussion of personal topics was legitimated in only a few types of situations, discussion of personal lives by both residents and staff appeared to be appropriate only in the beauty parlor or physical therapy rooms, and in most situations there appeared to be normative sanctions against residents asking "personal" questions of staff or visitors. Staff members overtly excluded patients from their own conversations, citing residents' lack of interest in the types of topics staff members discussed--an observation contradicted by the researcher's own observations of residents' interests. It appeared that both residents and staff were subject to slightly different but complementary rules that produced the patterns noted. (GT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 1-5, 1979)