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Calling time: a discursive analysis of telephone calls to an alcohol helpline

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posted on 10.02.2011, 11:01 by Mandi Hodges
This thesis takes Discursive Psychology as its main theoretical influence. Drawing on the resources of Discursive Psychology and utilising analytic tools provided by Conversation Analysis, these principles are applied to the study of addiction, and specifically alcohol problems. The data explored are telephone calls to an alcohol helpline. Four analytic chapters are presented. The first focuses on the concept of loss of control over drinking, identifying features of how this concept is constructed in talk and suggests possible functions of control talk for both callers and Advice Workers. The second analytic chapter examines how Advice Workers respond to callers' professed impaired control over their drinking and I demonstrate that embedded in discursive sequences of problem formulation and advice giving are issues of agency, accountability and responsibility. The thesis moves on to explore the role of knowledge in calls to an alcohol helpline and the analysis reveals that both the expert status of the Advice Worker and the speciality of the topic are co-constructed between the speakers on the helpline. The final analytic chapter features just one telephone call and demonstrates the application of such an analysis for alcohol service providers. The thesis ends with a discussion of the main overall findings and the implications of the research for clinical practice. I close by arguing that initial agency contact is a very important site of study and recommend that this should be explored utilising naturally-occurring talk.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Mandi Hodges

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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