Competence and incompetence are constructs that emerge in the social milieu of everyday life. Individuals are continually making and revising judgments about each other's abilities as they interact. The flexible, situated view of competence conveyed by the research of the authors in this volume is a departure from the way that competence is usually thought about in the fields of communication disabilities and education. In the social constructivist view, competence is not a fixed mass, residing within an individual, or a fixed judgment, defined externally. Rather, it is variable, sensitive to what is going on in the here and now, and coconstructed by those present. Constructions of competence are tied to evaluations implicit in the communication of the participants as well as to explicit evaluations of how things are going.
The authors address the social construction of competence in a variety of situations: engaging in therapy for communication and other disorders, working and living with people with disabilities, speaking a second language, living with deafness, and giving and receiving instruction. Their studies focus on adults and children, including those with disabilities (aphasia, traumatic brain injury, augmentative systems users), as they go about managing their lives and identities. They examine the all-important context in which participants make competence judgments, assess the impact of implicit judgments and formal diagnoses, and look at the types of evaluations made during interaction.
This book makes an argument all helping professionals need to hear: institutional, clinical, and social practices promoting judgments must be changed to practices that are more positive and empowering.
Table of Contents
Content: Part I:Introduction. J. Duchan, M. Maxwell, D. Kovarsky, Evaluating Competence in the Course of Everyday Interaction. Part II:Hidden Factors Influencing Judgments of Competence. R. Stillman, R. Snow, K. Warren, "I Used to Be Good With Kids." Encounters Between Speech-Language Pathology Students and Children With Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). D.J. Higginbotham, D.P. Wilkins, Slipping Through the Timestream: Social Issues of Time and Timing in Augmented Interactions. C.J. Winkler, How Opposing Perceptions of Communication Competence Were Constructed by Taiwanese Graduate Students. T.I. Saenz, K.G. Black, L. Pellegrini, The Social Competence of Children Diagnosed With Specific Language Impairment. M. Maxwell, D. Poeppelmeyer, L. Polich, Deaf Members and Nonmembers: The Creation of Culture Through Communication Practices. F. Trix, Spiraling Connections: The Practice of Repair in Bektashi Muslim Discourse. Part III:Diagnosis as Situated Practice. D.W. Maynard, C.L. Marlaire, Good Reasons for Bad Testing Performance: The Interactional Substrate of Educational Testing. T. Wyatt, An Afro-Centered View of Communicative Competence. J.F. Duchan, Reports Written by Speech-Language Pathologists: The Role of Agenda in Constructing Client Competence. A.M. Mastergeorge, Revelations of Family Perceptions of Diagnosis and Disorder Through Metaphor. E.L. Barton, The Social Work of Diagnosis: Evidence for Judgments of Competence and Incompetence. Part IV:Intervention as Situated Practice. D. Kovarsky, M. Kimbarow, D. Kastner, The Construction of Incompetence During Group Therapy With Traumatically Brain Injured Adults. N. Simmons-Mackie, J.S. Damico, Social Role Negotiation in Aphasia Therapy: Competence, Incompetence, and Conflict. K. Ferrara, The Social Construction of Language Incompetence and Social Identity in Psychotherapy.
"This book is likely to be of most interest to practitioners in speech pathology and other helping professions. As such, it makes a welcome addition to work that explores how concepts often treated as relatively static and psychological, such as language competence and incompetence, can alternatively be viewed from a social and interactional perspective. Several chapters also touch on the implications for social change embodied in this perspective."
—Language in Society