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Managing delicate issues in assessment interviews of prospective adoptive parents
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4531-0400
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Before getting a consent to adopt a child, prospective adoptive parents need to participate in an assessment process that entails extensive interviews by a social worker. Assessment of prospective adoptive parenthood is a complex matter and in absence of an existing child the assessment rather concerns parental potential than performance (Lind & Lindgren 2017). In assessment interviews, therefore, several important topics and delicate issues have to be covered. 

 

The data for this paper consist of audio recordings of such interviews, that is part of the assessment process preceding intercountry adoption in Sweden. Using institutional conversation analysis (Heritage 2005), I analyse how sensitive or dilemmatic questions concerning delicate issues (Peräkylä 1995, van Nijnatten & Souoinen 2014) are handled – designed and responded to - by social workers and prospective adoptive parents during an assessment interview.

 

During an assessment interview, by discussing different topics and possible scenarios, the prospective parents’ awareness and knowledge about the challenges of parenting is ought to be assessed. Some of these topics and questions are problematic or sensitive. One of these sensitive areas involves the assessment of the applicants’ willingness or abilities to adopt a child with disabilities. The analysis shows that social workers’ questions about this invokes a moral dimension concerning the possibility to ‘choose’ healthy children instead of disabled ones. Social workers formulate their questions by using hypothetical constructions Sw. ‘om’ “if” and Sw. ‘vad gör du’ “what would you do” to approach the issue, while the applicants treat these questions as dispreferred and tend to avoid straightforward answers.  Instead, the prospective parents categorise the questions as ‘harsh’ or ‘difficult’. Both prospective parents and social workers then produce expanded explanations, and formulate various accounts that explicate their perspectives (e.g., Peräkylä 1995, Noordegraaf 2008; van Nijnatten & Souoinen 2014 on interactional resources used to handle the delicate issues in institutional talk). The present analysis of the interactional organization of such question-answer sequences in assessment interviews highlights how prospective adoptive parents respond to dispreferred questions that are morally sensitive, while formulating their responses so as to establish a social identity of suitable parents.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-163491OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-163491DiVA, id: diva2:1391946
Conference
5th International Conference on Conversation Analysis (ICCA)
Available from: 2020-02-05 Created: 2020-02-05 Last updated: 2020-02-19Bibliographically approved

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Wirzén, Madeleine

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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More styles
Language
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