The dissertation «Defensive accountings – An ethnomethodological study of clients’ resistance practices in vocational rehabilitation practices» utilizes the methodology of ethnomethodological conversation analysis to do a fine grained analysis of 15 audio-recorded vocational rehabilitation encounters in NAV. How do clients of vocational rehabilitation contribute in the negotiation of action plans? Especially, how can various accounting practices be invoked to actively resist the counsellor’s interactional project? The study is based on the following four articles explicating at least some available resources for enacting appropriate client resistance:
1. Accepted and resisted: the client’s responsibility for making proposals in activation encounters. Janne Solberg. Published in Text & Talk, 31:733-752, 2011. Research issues: How do clients comply with the institutional request to suggest solutions? How can nonalignment with the eliciting question be understood as managing particular contingencies within the setting of vocational rehabilitation? Findings: Comparing two instances of proposal-making the study suggests that a client is able to resist the terms of talking by choosing a “non-conforming” answer design (implying rather than going straight). This course is possibly apt for managing contingent matter; balancing the client’s need to discuss an option while reducing overt responsibility for raising a “rejectable” issue.
2. Activation encounters: Dilemmas of accountability in constructing clients as ‘knowledgeable’. Janne Solberg. Published in Qualitative Social Work, 10:381-398, 2011. Research issues: How do counsellors’ eliciting questions set up expectations of what clients are supposed to know regarding possible solutions? How do clients align to these expectations, and how are issues of accountability managed in their responses? Findings: The findings of the article demonstrate how clients who do not have plans to report when answering the counsellor’s solution eliciting questions might invoke accounting elements in their response. This indicates issues of (moral) accountability to be practically managed by the client, even in client-facilitating practices.
3. Making sense of accounting practices: Clients’ reports of abandoned plans in Norwegian activation encounters. Janne Solberg (unpublished manuscript). Research issues: How do clients formulate “abandoned proposals” in vocational rehabilitation encounters? How can abandoned proposals be invoked to resist the counsellor’s investigating agenda? What are their interactional functions? Findings: The study suggests that this accounting practice, which has a conventional “agreement-preface” organization, is invoked to drift away from the agenda. In contrast to much CA-research, focusing on the affiliating functions of accounts, the article suggests self-concerns as well as pragmatic concerns (building a case) to play a part.
4. Arguing in professional-client encounters: Building cases through second-hand assessments. Janne Solberg. Accepted on 12 December 2013 for publication in Pragmatics & Society. Research issues: How are third parties’ assessments invoked in the negotiating of appropriate vocational rehabilitation measures? What are their interactional functions in terms of resisting the counsellor’s investigating agenda? Findings: Clients might invoke second-hand assessment to oppose the counsellor’s investigation, or, in initiating actions to promote the client’s case. In terms of the opposing function, epistemological access to relevant argument seems to be more urgent than the need to mitigate resistance.
The findings of the studies suggest that clients’ mundane accounting practices represent rich cultural resources for performing a variety of resisting actions; defending the client’s case and/or face as an accountable client.
List of papers
(article II-IV are removed due to publisher restrictions)
Article I: Accepted and resisted: the client’s responsibility for making proposals in activation encounters. Published in Text & Talk, 31:733-752, 2011. DOI 10.1515/TEXT.2011.035
Article II: Activation encounters: Dilemmas of accountability in constructing clients as ‘knowledgeable’. Published in Qualitative Social Work, 10:381-398, 2011. DOI 10.1177/1473325011409478
Article III: Making sense of accounting practices: Clients’ reports of abandoned plans in Norwegian activation encounters (Unpublished manuscript)
Article IV: Arguing in professional-client encounters: Building cases through second-hand assessments. Accepted on 12 December 2013 for publication in Pragmatics & Society.