Disability and anticipatory discourse: The interconnectedness of local and global aspects of talk

Najma Al Zidjaly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, I use nexus analysis framework to examine how one quadriplegic man from Oman, named Yahya, directs the course of his present (and his future) through anticipatory discourse. In particular, I analyze conversations between Yahya and me regarding his future as they relate to actions I undertake on his behalf to effect a social change: to secure Yahya, an unmarried man, a permit to hire his own resident nurse/assistant (permits for such hirings are reserved only for married couples in Oman). I demonstrate how Yahya influences me to follow his agenda through constructing a helpless identity in narrative discourse. Reciprocally, I suggest that through the actions Yahya's caregivers subsequently undertake, they succeed in giving him a sense of control over an important aspect of his life (being able to hire his own assistant), and I demonstrate how Yahya subsequently displays agentivity in his narratives. I thus illustrate the interconnectedness of Yahya's anticipatory discourse and his caregivers' (macro-level) actions that cause societal change, as well as the interconnectedness of these actions and the kinds of selves Yahya constructs through anticipatory discourse in private (micro-level) interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
JournalCommunication and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2006


  • Agency
  • Anticipatory discourse
  • Disability
  • Hypothetical future-oriented narratives
  • Local and global aspects of talk
  • Social change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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