Digital Media and Participatory Cultures of Health and Illness  book cover
1st Edition

Digital Media and Participatory Cultures of Health and Illness

ISBN 9781138603127
Published December 31, 2021 by Routledge
170 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores how the complex scenario of platforms, practices and content in the contemporary digital landscape is shaping participatory cultures of health and illness.

The everyday use of digital and social media platforms has major implications for the production, seeking and sharing of health information, and raises important questions about health peer support, power relations, trust, privacy and knowledge. To address these questions, this book navigates contemporary forms of participation that develop through mundane digital practices, like tweeting about the latest pandemic news or keeping track of our daily runs with Fitbit or Strava. In doing so, it explores both radical activist practices and more ordinary forms of participation that can gradually lead to social and/or cultural changes in how we understand and experience health and illness. While drawing upon digital media studies and the sociology of health and illness, this book offers theoretical and methodological insights from a decade of empirical research of health-related digital practices that span from digital health advocacy to illness-focused social media uses.

Accessible and engaging, this book is ideal for scholars and students interested in digital media, digital activism, health advocacy and digital health.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction: Pandemic snapshots, digital media, and participatory cultures of health and illness

Part 1: Theoretical foundations

Chapter 2: Digital media, participation, and citizenship

Chapter 3: Health advocacy and activism

Part 2: The rise of digitised and networked health

Chapter 4: The rise of the epatient in the internet that was

Chapter 5: From patient organisations to patient networks

Part 3: Platforms

Chapter 6: Participatory cultures of health and illness on mainstream social media

Chapter 7: Participatory cultures of health and illness on digital health platforms


Chapter 8: Conclusion: Understanding participatory cultures of health and illness in contemporary societies

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Stefania Vicari is Senior Lecturer in Digital Sociology at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her research interests include the general areas of digital participation, digital health and digital methods. Her works have appeared in a number of journals including Information, Communication and Society; Media, Culture and Society; New Media and Society; Social Media + Society; Social Movement Studies and Current Sociology.


"By focusing on digital engagement and networking, this text sheds light on a critical component of contemporary forms of health activism. The book makes a significant contribution to our understanding of patient advocacy and health social movements." --Heather Zoller (Ph.D.), Professor, University of Cincinnati