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Public discourse on mental health and psychiatry: Representations in Swedish newspapers
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2017 (English)In: Health, ISSN 1363-4593, E-ISSN 1461-7196Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Mass media plays a central role in shaping public discourse on health and illness. In order to examine media representations of mental health and expert knowledge in this field, two major Swedish daily newspapers from the year 2009 were qualitatively analysed. Drawing on the theory of social representations, the analysis focused on how issues concerning mental health and different perspectives are represented. The results show how the concept of mental illness is used in different and often taken-for-granted ways and how the distinction between normal and pathological is a central underlying question. Laypersons’ perspectives are supplemented by views of professionals in the newspapers, where signs of confidence and dependence on expert knowledge are juxtaposed with critique and expressions of distrust. The newspaper discourse thus has salient argumentative features and the way that conflicts are made explicit and issues concerning authoritative knowledge are addressed indicates ambivalence towards the authoritative role of expert knowledge concerning mental health. In this way, the newspapers provide a complex epistemic context for everyday sense-making that can be assumed to have implications for relations between laypersons and professionals in the field of mental health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
expert knowledge, mass media, mental health, psychiatry, social representations
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145791DOI: 10.1177/1363459317693405OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145791DiVA: diva2:1134581
Available from: 2017-08-21 Created: 2017-08-21 Last updated: 2017-08-21

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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