Zucchermaglio, C., Alby, F., & Fatigante, M.
What counts as illness? Anamnesis as a collaborative activity
Drawing on a corpus of 35 videorecordings of cancer consultations collected in a medium-size public hospital in Italy, our analyses show how anamnesis, rather than being an automatic sequence of brief and polar (yes/no) questions addressed by the doctor to the patient, results as a challenging interpretative joint activity; in this activity, the doctor and the patient need to collaborate in order to build a shared sense of salience of what compels attention in the actual clinical situation. Results show the interplay of doctor’s and patient’s different knowledge systems and classification practices, involved in defining what an illness is. Anamnesis proves to be a suitable site for patient’s socialization in medical encounters, and a highly collaborative activity due to the amount of interaction and negotiation between the doctor and the patient (higher than those in other stages of the visit).Back