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Interpersonal Issues in Expressing Lay Knowledge: A Discursive Psychology Approach

By Bregje de Kok and Sue Widdicombe


This article examines lay knowledge\ud about causes of infertility. We use\ud discursive psychology to analyse\ud semi-structured interviews with\ud purposively sampled Malawians with\ud a fertility problem. We observe that\ud respondents deny knowledge of\ud causes, sometimes emphatically, but\ud this co-occurs with descriptions of\ud potential causes. We show that these\ud respondents thereby address\ud problematic interpersonal issues:\ud namely that one is not entitled to\ud medical knowledge and that negative\ud inferences that may be drawn about\ud someone who knows particular causes\ud of infertility. These findings shed new\ud light on previous observations, and\ud have implications for the study of lay\ud knowledge

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