Bad News, Good News: Conversational Order in Everyday Talk and Clinical Settings

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University of Chicago Press, May 1, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 327 pages
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When we share or receive good or bad news, from ordinary events such as the birth of a child to public catastrophes such as 9/11, our "old" lives come to an end, and suddenly we enter a new world. In Bad News, Good News, Douglas W. Maynard explores how we tell and hear such news, and what's similar and different about our social experiences when the tidings are bad rather than good or vice versa.

Uncovering vocal and nonvocal patterns in everyday conversations, clinics, and other organizations, Maynard shows practices by which people give and receive good or bad news, how they come to realize the news and their new world, how they suppress or express their emotions, and how they construct social relationships through the sharing of news. He also reveals the implications of his study for understanding public affairs in which transmitting news may influence society at large, and he provides recommendations for professionals and others on how to deliver bad or good tidings more effectively.

For anyone who wants to understand the interactional facets of news delivery and receipt and their social implications, Bad News, Good News offers a wealth of scholarly insights and practical advice.

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1 Bad News Good News and Everyday Life
2 On Realization in Everyday Life
What Is the Context of an Utterance?
4 The News Delivery Sequence
5 Whose News Is This? Social Relationships in Bad and Good News
The Benign Order of Everyday Life
Moral Issues in Deliveries of Good and Bad News
Everyday Rationality in Public Decision Making
How to Tell the News
Transcribing Conventions
Some Conversation Analytic Precepts
Author Index
Subject Index

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About the author (2003)

Douglas W. Maynard is a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of Inside Plea Bargaining: The Language of Negotiation and coeditor of Standardization and Tacit Knowledge: Interaction and Practice in the Survey Interview.

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