In this book Richard Gwyn demonstrates the centrality of discourse analysis to an understanding of health and communication. Focusing on language and communication issues he demonstrates that it is possible to observe and analyze patterns in the ways in which health and illness are represented and articulated by both health professionals and lay people. Communicating Health and Illness: · Explores culturally validated notions of health and sickness and the medicalization of illness · Surveys media representations of health and illness · Considers the metaphoric nature of talk about illness · Contributes to the ongoing debate in relation to narrative based medicine

‘Lay’ Talk about Health and Illness

‘Lay’ talk about health and illness

Illness is a social phenomenon, defined through the interaction of the patient with his or her relatives, the doctor or health care worker, and society at large: consequently it is a behaviour that has to be learned. The knowledge of illness that the patient brings to bear on each fresh encounter with a health care professional is likely to have been gained from prior experience, stories from friends and relatives, information from television and other media (and increasingly from the internet), quite apart from folk knowledge of a more general kind. A ‘lay’ understanding of illness is therefore constituted from several different and often conflicting sources, but typically will include scientifically grounded knowledge mixed ...

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