Conference article

Vad är reumatism? Beskrivningar av en sjukdom

Ulla Melander Marttala
Uppsala Universitet, Sweden

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Published in: Svenskans beskrivning 24. Förhandlingar vid Tjugofjärde sammankomsten för svenskans beskrivning

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 6:14, p. 167-176

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Published: 2001-01-25


ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


This article presents an investigation of descriptions of rheumatism collected in interviews with informants with differing backgrounds; viz. persons suffering from rheumatism; healthy lay persons and physicians.

Differences between the groups in their conceptions of rheumatism were found; regarding aspects as manifestations and symptoms; seriousness; causes; and consequences. Naturally; the descriptions reflected experience and knowledge of rheumatism in the different groups of informants. The physicians had the most well-structured; knowledgeable and general conceptions; while the healthy group had less developed notions. The rheumatic persons were in between; closer to the physicians; and had explicit conceptions of rheumatism; in which their own situation was emphasised. In their descriptions all informants made abundant use of linguistic hedges and the like; the healthy informant group being the vaguest one in their formulations.

A clear pattern for all informants is to interpret an encountered phenomenon; here rheumatism; in relation to their experiences and realities; transferring it into a concrete and real context; in order to understand it.

Knowledge of differences in descriptions; conceptions and perspectives of participants with differing backgrounds may contribute to a better understanding of how such aspects and dissimilarities effect communication.


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Att uppfatta sin omvärld. Varför vi förstår verkligheten på olika sätt; 1984. Red. av F. Marton & C.-G. Wenestam. Stockholm.

Melander Marttala; Ulla; 1999: Att beskriva medicinska symtom. Ja kan vakna på nätterna å har värk... I: Svenskans beskrivning 23. Utg. av L.-G. Andersson m.fl. Lund. 1999. S. 256–264.

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