Hand touching hand: Referential practice at a japanese midwife house [Book Review]

Human Studies 30 (3):199 - 217 (2007)
This article focuses on referential practices at a Japanese midwife house, where at prenatal examinations, a midwife palpates a pregnant woman’s abdomen with her hands, without any assistance from an ultrasound scanner. The midwife often refers to spots on the abdomen in palpation with locative demonstrative expressions. I demonstrate that ways in which references to spots on the pregnant woman’s abdomen are accomplished are subtly different, depending on the action sequence in which they are embedded. The description of referential practices in which the touching plays an important role has consequences for the re-conceptualization of human interaction in general, and interaction between medical professionals and their clients in modern medical settings in particular.
Keywords Action sequencing  Conversation analysis  Midwife house  Multi-sensory accomplishment of reference  Normative structure of the body  Palpation  Referential practice
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