The phenomenon of addiction enables studies of how society governs citizens and produces (healthy) bodies through classifications and definitions within treatment, science, and politics. Definitions and explanations of addiction change over time, and collective narratives of addiction in society are shared between scientific, official, and colloquial discourses. It is thus reasonable to argue that scientists, clinicians, and practitioners, as well as politicians, journalists, and laypersons, co-create addiction as a (bio)medical, social, and cultural phenomenon defined by varying actions, experiences, contexts, and meanings. The mass media is a key link between science and citizens. Explanations and definitions of the nature and causes of, and solutions for, addiction are provided by science and communicated to the rest of the society in popular scientific representations. While the language of scientific discourse is actively used, reproduced, and redefined in everyday language, laypersons are seldom acknowledged as active participants in studies of knowledge coproduction. This study examines how 25 newspaper readers interpret and explain dimensions of addiction phenomena through their own knowledge and interpretation of scientific representations in the media. The analysis shows how (popular) scientific biomedical addiction discourse interacts with newspaper readers’ interpretations, focusing on lay discussion of the causes of and solutions for addiction, how lay coproduction of scientific explanations is made, and how we can understand it. The study contributes to our understanding of the complex network of interacting and competing actors coproducing knowledge of addiction, emphasizing laypersons’ involvement in this process.
Sage Publications, 2016. Vol. 43, 25-46 p.
addiction interviews medicalization media science and technology studies coproduction of knowledge