Beyond the Reproduction of Official Accounts: Parental Accounts Concerning Health and the Daily Life of a California Family


Considering the purported bias of interviews to elicit “official accounts”—conveying conventional teachings from health promotion—and limited insights individuals may have into their own health behaviors, the challenges of relating health as talk (directed at researchers) to health as enacted are examined. Focusing on one family from a study of dual-earner middle-class Los Angeles families, I propose and apply four analytic lenses to a conjoint analysis of ethnographic interviews and video-recordings of family life to examine the parental claim that their family is a “healthy family.” Findings indicate that parental accounts enable deeper insights into health as entrenched in everyday life, here revealing the centrality of a relational view of health as “family well-being” (vs. individual health) extending into the social world. Discussion considers debates over the extent to which “discursive consciousness” in interview settings illuminates health-relevant practices in everyday life contexts.