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Expectations in the field of the Internet and health : an analysis of claims about social networking sites in clinical literature

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journal contribution
posted on 17.02.2016, 11:38 by N. Koteyko, D. Hunt, Barrie Gunter
This article adopts a critical sociological perspective to examine the expectations surrounding the uses of social networking sites (SNSs) articulated in the domain of clinical literature. This emerging body of articles and commentaries responds to the recent significant growth in SNS use, and constitutes a venue in which the meanings of SNSs and their relation to health are negotiated. Our analysis indicates how clinical writing configures the role of SNSs in health care through a range of metaphorical constructions that frame SNSs as a tool, a conduit for information and a traversable space. The use of such metaphors serves not only to describe the new affordances offered by SNSs but also posits distinct lay and professional practices, while reviving a range of celebratory claims about the Internet and health critiqued in sociological literature. These metaphorical descriptions characterise SNS content as essentially controllable by autonomous users while reiterating existing arguments that e-health is both inherently empowering and risky. Our analysis calls for a close attention to these understandings of SNSs as they have the potential to shape future online initiatives, most notably by anticipating successful professional interventions while marginalising the factors that influence users’ online and offline practices and contexts.



Sociology Of Health And Illness, 2015, 37 (3), pp. 468-484 (17)

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/Department of Media and Communication


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Sociology Of Health And Illness


Wiley for Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness





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