2008: Electronic Support Groups, Patient-Consumers, and Medicalization: The Case of Contested Illness, Barker

Discussion in 'Psychosomatic research - ME/CFS and Long Covid' started by Woolie, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

    One for those who enjoy being wound up by this stuff. The main example they discuss is fibro, not ME, but that's unlikely to reduce your outrage.

    It is interesting that this sociologist is unquestioningly buying into the assumption that those with contested illness are not really ill at all, just medicalising their completely normal symptoms. Its not just the psyc's and doctors then.

    The paper is alarming widely cited (+200 citations).

    Electronic Support Groups, Patient-Consumers, and Medicalization: The Case of Contested Illness*
    Journal of Health and Social Behavior 2008, Vol 49 (March):20–36

    http://www.aleciashepherd.com/writings/articles/other/Electronic Support Groups.pdf

    Some excerpts:
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  2. Samuel

    Samuel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    tsdr but same name as:


    Reviews in Health Care 2012; 3(4): 257-270
    Narrative review

    Pediatric Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    Leonard A. Jason 1, Kristen Barker 1, Abigail Brown 1
    1 Center for Community Research, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, USA

    Corresponding author
    Leonard A. Jason, Ph.D. Director, Center for Community Research,
    DePaul University, 990 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
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  3. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

    Interesting find. I'm hoping the slightly different spelling means its not the same person:
    I suppose if it is, then she changed her mind. That's encouraging.
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  4. Samuel

    Samuel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    my bad for not noticing the name difference.
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  5. petrichor

    petrichor Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Well, sociologists don't know anything about medicine, and there's loads of questionable theories that float around sociology. Sociologists really get off on any theories they make that sound mildly plausible, and really have a thing for trying to make themselves relevant.
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  6. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Sounds similar to some psychiatrists
  7. TiredSam

    TiredSam Committee Member

    That'll be me.

    When I was a university student, in the law library toilet someone had written on the toilet paper dispenser "Sociology degrees, please take one". After three years of wiping my arse on sociology degrees (I've since switched to the Guardian), I tried to give it a second chance later in life by listening to podcasts of radio 4's "Thinking Allowed" on my drive to work, but every time they interviewed a sociologist it seemed to be a woman with a speech impediment trying to use as many long words as possible and it was getting so pythonesque that I had to stop listening before I crashed my car laughing.

    From this esteemed text we have:

    Passing over the fact that sociologists seem to believe that all they have to do is frequently quote each other for some authoritative body of knowledge to magically come into existence, I look forward to the day when the above can be rewritten as:

  8. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    They like to study broad chauvinistic declarations.

    Sometimes they like to call these theories stereotypes. They study the harm stereotypes cause.
  9. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member


    LOVE it when people support their statements by mentioning some other person who believes as they do.

    "Alien abductions occur frequently (Ted Smith from down the road, Travis Walton, Elvis Presley)."
  10. Cheshire

    Cheshire Moderator Staff Member

    Most of the sociology texts talking about ME I've read so far were blindly accepting the "no biological factor there" paradigm, hence patients are trying to fabricate a disease for psychosocial reasons. They're supposed to uncover the social factors of everything but they do not question at any moment the BPS view, which is taken as some kind of revealed truth exempt from human bias.

    But if you think socilogy's been doing poorly, have a go at semiotics:
    Medically unexplained physical symptoms, misunderstood and wrongly treated?
    A semiotic perspective on chronic pain

    Right from the start, in the abstract, you've got this gem:
    Can someone think of something crappiest than that? (well, there's still neuropsychoanalysis...)

    And I could go on...

    Why on earth a semeotician decided one day that they could be of use to explain medical problems is beyond me.

    These people are not self-proclaimed gurus, they're academics. (Bærum Fysikalske Institutt, Sandvika, Norway; b Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo, NO, Oslo) How is this thing happening?
  11. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

    A lot of sociology around this area is much more assumption free. They don't make any stand on what the truth is around causation, they just describe the social phenomena surrounding patienthood - invalidation, the search for meaning, seeking permission to occupy the sick role, etc.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  12. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    It is hard to avoid the conclusion that, potentially, the most important tool for those advocating a biopsychosocial approach to anything would be a mirror.
  13. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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  14. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

    I find it very hard not to wish a bad case of real chronic pain on the arseholes who choose to gaslight us in this way. How quickly they would change their tune.

    Copied from the sections @Woolie quoted:
    Medically unexplained is bad enough, but at face value, a statement of fact at the time the patient arrives at the clinic. Medically unexplainable is a whole new level of denial. Is the author God?
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  15. large donner

    large donner Guest


    Its laughable how the medical profession is currently priding themselves on how many people they are unable to diagnose and not only that they keep wanting to put that figure out everywhere.

    Can you imagine Kwik Fit advertising that 30% of their visitors cars remain unfixed!
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  16. Valentijn

    Valentijn Guest

    They're listed as being at different universities as well, in different parts of the country.
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