The Scientific Network >Linguistics & Medicine<

Patho- and saluto-discourses between the poles of objective diagnosis, interactive knowledge transfer and media constitution

The scientific network >Linguistics and Medicine< aims to bring together researchers from various linguistic disciplines working at the interface of “Language – Knowledge – Medicine”. In the network, we want to jointly address research desiderata and requirements, and establish or expand interconnections and interdisciplinary links between linguistic, medical, psychiatric and salutogenetic areas of study.

A comprehensive investigation of the complex interaction between media factors which influence our understanding of psychological and somatic disease concepts on the one hand, and professional, institutional and individual knowledge stocks on the other, involves a variety of different methodological approaches and data from the fields of conversation analysis, corpus linguistics and discourse analysis. By analysing the links and intersections, sharing and pooling research findings and methodologies in specialist reports and research projects, and comparing notes and research findings from the fields of conversation analysis, corpus linguistics and discourse analysis at conferences or in relevant publications, we also seek to make a contribution to more patient-friendly, effective doctor-patient communications, which, in turn, could be beneficial to effective treatment and therapy, but also has wider social implications given the rising costs in the health-care sector. Finally, the network pursues the goal of promoting and incorporating suitable linguistic approaches and methods in the emerging field of (critical) medical humanities to improve the transfer and communication of linguistic research findings in medical settings of diagnosis and patient treatment. Last but not least, our aim is to establish stable collaborative networks within the field of linguistic research and across disciplines.

New challenges and opportunities in the field of linguistics and medicine are thus created for the future, with a focus on these central aspects:

  1. closer intra-linguistic and inter-lingual collaborations and methodological triangulation in conversation and discourse analytical research and corpus linguistic working along the lines of “Language – Knowledge – Medicine”, including better integration of multilingual contexts and contrastive linguistic and cultural studies;
  2. stronger interdisciplinary collaboration between medical studies and linguistics in all relevant areas of research, knowledge transfer, and in teaching contexts;
  3. promoting transfer, communication and compatibility of research findings through focused scientific exchange on relevant research paradigms, terminologies, publications, and talks by linguists in the context of medical studies and medical humanities; and vice versa, by medical researchers and practitioners and scholars in social sciences and the humanities in the context of linguistic studies;
  4. reaching out to, and intensifying communication with the general public by publishing position papers, blog posts, public talks, and through the development of citizen-science and other participative projects.

In the network, linguists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland collaborate and cooperate with medical professionals, psychotherapists and historians from Germany and Switzerland as associate members. Since 2017, the network has regularly met in workshops for in-depth discussions and talks with relevant experts and professionals.

The DFG network’s 1st interdisciplinary conference on „Linguistics and Medicine: Linguistic Approaches and Interdisciplinary Perspectives“ was held in 2019 at Paderborn University to discuss research findings by network members with scholars from other branches of the human sciences and medical professionals. The results are published in the workshop proceedings  (2021). 

The network’s second conference on “Norms, Normality/-ies and Normativity – Interdisciplinary Perspectives on ‚Normal‘ in Medicine“ was held in 2021 at the University of Münster.

Our next meeting on “Narrativity” will be held in winter 2022/23, in cooperation with the research centre ‘Medical Humanities’ at the University of Innsbruck.

The network is currently planning a third conference in 2023/24 at the University of Bayreuth.

On behalf of the network: Marina Iakushevich, Yvonne Ilg & Theresa Schnedermann