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A virtual ethnography of the madosphere - exploring a disrupted relationship between users and providers of mental health services

Betton, Victoria Christine Naomi (2016) A virtual ethnography of the madosphere - exploring a disrupted relationship between users and providers of mental health services. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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My thesis seeks to answer the question: ‘to what extent is the relationship between users and providers of mental health services being disrupted in the madosphere?’ It arises from curiosity about the extent to which online interactions have the potential to interrupt and complicate boundaries between providers and receivers of care. I consider the interplay between mediations of mental health in mainstream media and a space and set of practices I refer to as the madosphere. Through my research I endeavour to answer questions about the intersection of two discourses that are not obviously connected – the treatment of people with mental health problems by institutions and the existence of social networking sites as spaces to share information and develop common cultures. My research endeavours to understand ways in which people accessing and providing mental health services are interacting in particular online spaces; how participants in those spaces are engaging with current social and political issues relating to mental health; how they are encountering and resisting representations of mental ill-health in mainstream media, with a particular focus on stigma and discrimination. I elucidate themes relating to social practices, cultural norms, identity, power formation and impacts on mental health and wellbeing. My research comprises four sub-questions, which are set out below: 1. Disrupted relationships - who is participating in the madosphere, how do participants experience and understand their engagement, and what meanings does it carry for them? 2. An account of the madosphere - what are the behaviours, practices and social norms in the madosphere? 3. Re-mediation of representation - how do participants engage with and resist mainstream media reporting of mental health issues? 4. Fractured power and expertise - how do participants engage in themes of identity, power, stigma and discrimination? How are participants resisting and subverting institutional paradigms and discourses relating to mental health? I conclude with a series of recommendations for mental health professionals and institutions in relation to their engagement with social networking sites.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: social media; online social networks; mental health; ethnography
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.705973
Depositing User: Ms Victoria Betton
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2017 13:05
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13954

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