The paper presents analyses conducted on a corpus of doctor-patient interactions that was carried on in a outward department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in a public hospital in Italy. The corpus includes medical visits with both native and non native patients, (audio) recorded and fully transcribed according to the jeffersonian conventions (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson, 1974). We focus on the doctors’ strategies employed to elicit information from the patients with particular regards to the patient’s job status and the likelihood that she continues to work during pregnancy. Applying Conversation Analytic principles to the analysis of both the sequential structure and the design of the question, the authors highlights how the activity of questioning about the patient’s job includes larger sequences with non native patients as compared to native patients, in which not only the patient’s physical conditions but also her juridical status is questioned. The paper finally discusses the implications of the analyses on the doctors’ training on one hand, and on the social representation of the migrant identity on the other.
Keywords: Questioning, nonnative patient, job status, pregnancy, Conversation Analysis