The discursive construction of diabulimia: a corpus linguistic examination of online health communication

Brookes, Gavin John (2016) The discursive construction of diabulimia: a corpus linguistic examination of online health communication. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This study is the first of its kind to examine the discursive construction of diabulimia. Diabulimia is a contested disease characterised by the deliberate restriction of insulin dosage by people with insulin-dependent diabetes in order to control their weight. The analysis takes a mixed methods approach, combining quantitative corpus linguistic techniques with qualitative discourse analytic methods to examine how diabulimia is discursively constructed in three English-speaking diabetes internet fora. By examining the discursive construction of diabulimia in this context, this study explores this emerging health phenomenon from the perspectives of those individuals who, in many cases, have lived, first-hand experience of it. The corpus analysis reveals the discursive construction of diabulimia in this context to be deeply influenced by medicalisation and the neoliberal imperative of autonomous diabetes self-management. Individuals with diabetes who restrict their insulin dosage to control their weight are likely to articulate their experiences and concerns using decidedly medicalising language, construing these experiences as the symptoms of a disease (diabulimia). It is also found that the demands of diabetes self-management figure in and shape individuals’ experiences and understandings of diabulimia in varying and conflicting ways. By providing novel insight into subjective experiences and understandings of diabulimia, the findings reported in this study give voice to those individuals affected by it, findings which also bear important implications for health care practitioners likely to encounter such individuals in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Harvey, Kevin
Adolphs, Svenja
Keywords: Diabulimia Corpus-based Discourse Analaysis Health Communication Corpus Linguistics Diabetes
Subjects: P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 37621
Depositing User: Brookes, Gavin
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 11:32
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2017 12:27
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/37621

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