Canadian Journal for Studies in Discourse and Writing
Midwifery in Ontario, Canada exists at the intersection of mainstream healthcare ideology and an alternative, woman-centred ideology of care. As a result, midwifery interaction is characterized by discursive hybridity. We trace this hybridity in the conversational stories co-narrated by midwives and clients during clinic visits. We show how conversational storytelling performs a complex shifting and blending of rhetorical forms and functions integral to the clinical interaction. Conversational stories conform to the structural requirements of the clinic visit and unfold in different ways and perform different functions at different times. Stories may be told, evaluated, and received as institutionally relevant for both clinical and social purposes. Clinical stories perform relational functions, and stories that appear to be fully social orient to the clinical agenda. Hybridity is accomplished through two forms of linguistic borrowing: the blending of professional-institutional and more casual-conversational modes, and interactional features such as shared narration and recontextualization.