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Relational work and managing difficult messages in giving refugee legal advice

Reynolds, Judith 2017. Relational work and managing difficult messages in giving refugee legal advice. Presented at: British Association for Applied Linguistics, 31 August - 2 September 2017.

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Abstract

This paper will present data from a linguistic ethnographic study of legal advice giving to refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. In it I will discuss relational work, and how linguistic and cultural resources are variously drawn upon in the building of a relationship of trust between lawyer and client. Establishing this relationship is of central importance for effective advice-giving and -receiving in the communicative context of refugee and asylum law, within which the client is likely to have been treated with mistrust and disbelief in his or her previous interactions with the law and institutional representatives. The data were collected in a not-for-profit legal advice centre in one of England’s major cities during 2016, They comprise a corpus of audio recordings and observational notes of advice meetings between one immigration lawyer and a range of clients, and fieldwork notes created as part of ethnographic observation work. In the interactional data, relational work featured as one of a number of tools used by the lawyer to communicate effectively with her clients, who come from a range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds. These data can be seen as an example of face work (Brown and Levinson, 1987) operating in an intercultural, and sometimes multilingual, environment. In the paper I will discuss aspects of relational work and face work in this context, including how shared contexts are brought into the interaction to express understanding or foreground shared identities, how empathic work and the expression of emotion function in these interactions, and the affordances and constraints of doing such work with and through interpreters.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2019 16:42
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/120987

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