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

Digital Media and Participatory Cultures of Health and Illness

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 31, 2021
ISBN 9781138603127
December 31, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
184 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book looks at the complex scenario of platforms, practices, and content of contemporary digital communication to map and interpret emerging forms of digitally enhanced health activism.

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 the dynamics of health peer support, power relations, trust, privacy, and the quality of health information disseminated across these platforms. 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 health and illness. While drawing upon digital media studies and the sociology of health and illness, the book offers theoretical and methodological insights from a decade of empirical research of digital uses that span from digital health advocacy to illness-focused social media practices.

Accessible and engaging, the book is ideal for scholars and students interested in digital media, digital activism, health activism and digital health, as well as areas of media and communication and sociology.

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 a senior lecturer in Digital Sociology at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her research interests include the general areas of digital media and communication, digital health, and digital methods. Her works have appeared in a number of journals including Information, Communication and Society; Media, Culture 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