1st Edition

Making Health Public How News Coverage Is Remaking Media, Medicine, and Contemporary Life

By Charles L. Briggs, Daniel C. Hallin Copyright 2016
    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the relationship between media and medicine, considering the fundamental role of news coverage in constructing wider cultural understandings of health and disease. The authors advance the notion of ‘biomediatization’ and demonstrate how health knowledge is co-produced through connections between dispersed sites and forms of expertise. The chapters offer an innovative combination of media content analysis and ethnographic data on the production and circulation of health news, drawing on work with journalists, clinicians, health officials, medical researchers, marketers, and audiences. The volume provides students and scholars with unique insight into the significance and complexity of what health news does and how it is created.


    Part I: Toward a Framework for Studying Biomediatization

    1.  Biocommunicability: Cultural Models of Knowledge about Health
    2.  The Daily Work of Biomediatization
    3.  What Does This Mean "for the Rest of Us?": Frames, Voices, and the Journalistic Mediation of Health and Medicine

    Part II: Biomediatization Up Close: Three Case Studies

    4. "You have to hit it hard, hit it early": Biomediatizing the 2009 H1N1 Epidemic
    5. Finding the “Buzz,” Patrolling the Boundaries: Reporting Pharma and Biotech
    6. "We Have to Put that Four-Letter Word, 'Race,' on the Table": Voicing and Silencing Race and Ethnicity in News Coverage of Health


    Charles L. Briggs is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, USA. His work combines linguistic and medical anthropology with socio-cultural anthropology and folkloristics.

    Daniel C. Hallin is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego, USA. His work concerns journalism, political communication, and the comparative analysis of media systems. 

    "Briggs and Hallin have crafted a well-written and engaging text that provides a useful framework for studying health and disease in the 21st century. This book has the potential to inspire anthropologists to take more seriously the role of media in the production and circulation of medical and lay knowledge about health and disease. Biomediatization is an especially valuable contribution to medical anthropology, and the concept could easily take a place alongside and re-shape understandings of many popular conceptual frameworks in medical anthropology such as biomedicalization, biocommunicability, embodiment, performativity/enactment, and pharmaceuticalization."

    — William J. Robertson, Anthropology Book Forum (American Anthropological Association)