Language, Literacy, and Health: Discourse in Brazil’s National Health System analyzes language, literacy, and health as social practices in Brazil’s national health system, the Unified Health System (SUS), with a particular focus on the Family Health Strategy program. The SUS was established in the 1990s, offering free consultations, health promotion activities, and home visits by a professional team to the Brazilian population. Using research conducted in two different Brazilian regions, the Northeast and the Southeast, Izabel Magalhães and Kênia Lara da Silva discuss language and literacy as discourse—a very important dimension of health practice—and different uses of texts, including multimodal texts. The research, analysis, and the authors’ ethnographic approach bring to light some issues with SUS practices, and the authors suggest improvements. This book contributes to the debate about language and literacy in health practices, in which patients are partly responsible for keeping well.
Izabel Magalhães is a researcher in discourse analysis and literacy.
Kênia Lara da Silva is a member of the teaching staff in the graduate program in nursing at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte.
Part 1: The Ethnographic-Discursive Method, the Research Projects and the Theoretical Approach
Chapter 1: The Ethnographic-Discursive Method: Four Research Projects in Brazil
Chapter 2: Discourse Analysis, Literacy Studies and Multimodality: Health Practice and the Therapeutic Bond
Part 2: Health Literacies
Chapter 3: Contributions of the Study of Language and Literacy as a Social Practice to Health
Chapter 4: Literacy Practices and Literacy Events in Health
Chapter 5: Texts and Narratives in Healthcare
Part 3: Evaluation and Discursive Representation in Healthcare
Chapter 6: Patients’ Evaluations
Chapter 7: Health Professionals’ Evaluations
Chapter 8: Health Discourses and Practices on the Ground
Part 4: Case Studies in Language and Health
Chapter 9: Case Study 1: Health Professionals
Chapter 10: Case Study 2: Patients
Part 5: Social Change in Health Practice
Chapter 11: Health Professional Education: The Education of the Nursing Technician and the Representation of the Unified Health System (SUS)
Chapter 12: Making Patients Responsible for their Health: The Construction of Health Discourse in a Community of Belo Horizonte
About the Authors
“Constructing relationships that are nurturing, supportive, and responsive to the needs of patients within health care systems is one of the big social challenges across national boundaries. By exploring a broad and transdisciplinary approach involving language studies and health to examine health practices in Brazil, Magalhães andda Silva take forward our understanding of how power relations impact the quality of attendance offered to and aimed at by patients. The cases examined in this book shed light on communication problems experienced by patients, nurses, doctors, and policy makers in navigating complex health systems within and across national boundaries. Particularly, this exciting book helps us to understand the role of language, literacy, and multimodal resources in the construction of health ideologies in contexts marked by social, educational, and economic inequalities.”
"This volume provides an invaluable ethnographically informed resource, exploring the role of language and literacy in the delivery and uptake of healthcare in Brazil as well as its potential to increase equity and access to health services."