1st Edition

The Medicalization of Cyberspace

By Andy Miah, Emma Rich Copyright 2008
    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    176 Pages
    by Routledge

    The entire infrastructure and culture of medicine is being transformed by digital technology, the Internet and mobile devices. Cyberspace is now regularly used to provide medical advice and medication, with great numbers of sufferers immersing themselves within virtual communities. What are the implications of this medicalization of cyberspace for how people make sense of health and identity?

    The Medicalization of Cyberspace is the first book to explore the relationship between digital culture and medical sociology. It examines how technology is redefining expectations of and relationships with medical culture, addressing the following questions:

    • How will the rise of digital communities affect traditional notions of medical expertise?
    • What will the medicalization of cyberspace mean in a new era of posthuman enhancements?
    • How should we regard hype and exaggeration about science in the media and how can this encourage public engagement with bioethics?

    This book looks at the complex interactions between health, medicalization, cyberculture, the body and identity. It addresses topical issues, such as medical governance, reproductive rights, eating disorders, Web 2.0, and perspectives on posthumanism. It is essential reading for healthcare professionals and social, philosophical and cultural theorists of health.

    Introduction: Medicine in Society  Section 1: Cybermedical Discourse  1. Medicalization in Cyberspace  2. Cybermedical Bodies  3. Cybermedicine and Reliability Discourse  4. Virtual Governance of Health Behaviour  5. Cyberpatients, Illness Narratives and Medicalization  Section 2: Cyber Bodies  6. Partial Prostitution  7. Biological Property Rights in Cyberspace  8. The Online Pro-Ana Movement  9. The Bioethics of Cybermedicalization.  Conclusion: After-Cyborgs or Artificial Life



    Andy Miah, Emma Rich

    'Andy Miah and Emma Rich have extracted from cyberspace fascinating narratives about topics such as the persistent sexual arousal syndrome, the Visible Human Project, the controversy about an online auction for a human kidney (which never actually happened), suicide anorexia nervosa (Pro-Ana) movement...[They] seek to listen to what is going on in cyberspace and to understand how it affects the way that people see health and disease.' - New England Journal of Medicine

    'The Medicalization of Cyberspace is a compellling and comprehensive consideration of how the internet and web are impacting medical practice, communication between experts and patients, the construction of the posthuman body, and many other pressing issues. Highly recommended for anyone interested in how the digital cultures of cyberspace are shaping the practice, understanding, and consumption of medicine in the contemporary period.' - N. Katherine Hayles, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

    'The Medicalization of Cyberspace makes a valid and very necessary contribution to the conversation concerning cyberspace, medicalization and the body. Its value is found in the fact that rather than duplicating arguments already advanced on the positives and negatives of medical information being presented on the web or the horrors which stalk online discussion forms, it digs to the deeper issues of why cyberspace is altering the interaction between medicalization, health and body - a question which is often overlooked.' - Matt James, BioCentre BioNews