Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-13-2014

Abstract

The use of digital technologies and social media by people with serious illness to find, share, and create health information is much celebrated but rarely critiqued. Proponents laud “Health 2.0” as transforming health care practice and empowering patients. Critics, however, argue that a discourse of developing lay expertise online masks the disciplinary practices of the neoliberal state’s emphasis on individual responsibility. Notably, the perspectives of people who are engaging with social media related to their health and illness are under-represented in this debate. This research examines the experiences and perspectives of women who blog about their lives with Multiple Sclerosis in order to situate them in the context of these conflicting ideologies. Methods consisted of an ethnographic content analysis (N = 40), an online survey (n = 20), and an online discussion forum (n = 9). Findings revealed that blogging is neither inherently empowering nor inevitably disciplinary. Rather, it simultaneously offers opportunities for patients to gain medical knowledge and resist medical patriarchy, as well as compounds expectations placed upon patients to assume greater responsibility for managing their care.

Comments

This article originally appeared in Societies, available at DOI: 10.3390/soc4020316

© 2014 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.