Encounters between primary child health care staff and families in multicultural contexts: An ethnographic study of conversations around delicate issues

Camilla Rindstedt

Financed by: Stockholm County Council Healthcare - Stockholm University 2017, Strategic partnership

This video ethnographic study focuses on everyday encounters between children, parents and health personnel at Primary Child Health Services (BVC) in multicultural populated areas. Being a societal institution that reaches out to virtually all families with children 0-5 years of age in Sweden, BVC involves a number of challenges related to assessment and interventions. It is in the context of the daily practices of regular check-ups, developmental controls, health examinations, vaccinations, home visits and parenting groups that the promotion of health takes place. The theoretical approach in this study draws on a combination of linguistic anthropology and conversational analysis (CA).

The main research questions are:

  1. What type of social interaction and communication patterns characterize institutional talk in BVC consultations in multicultural contexts?
  2. Are there conversational strategies that are more successful than others?
  3. How are potential cultural misunderstandings handled?
  4. How is children’s participation negotiated in child health practices?
  5. What ‘ideological dilemmas’ are at stake in those consultations and how are they negotiated?

Data will be collected during one year in multicultural populated areas and will include participant observation, fieldnotes, audio- and video recorded social interactions.

The findings will contribute new knowledge regarding how to support children and families in general, and in particular when it comes to families from different ethnic backgrounds and families with a low income. It is a timely study as we today see massive streams of refugees (and other migrants) arriving to the country.

På svenska: Möten mellan BVC-personal och familjer i multikulturella kontexter: En etnografisk studie om samtal kring känsliga ämnen