Online disorders. Recomposing mental health on and with the Internet.
Call for Papers Date:
Revue/journal RESET (Recherches en Sciences Sociales sur Internet). Call for abstracts
Online disorders. Recomposing mental health on and with the Internet.
The increasing significance of mental health issues in contemporary societies raises a number of questions. The concept of mental health is used by actors in medicine, politics and the media in ways that imply a range of definitions of “good” or “bad” mental health. The World Health Organization for instance defines a mental health disorder as “some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others” (WHO, 2011, p. 10). Indeed, the diversity of actors using the concept seems to lead to a similar diversity of definitions of what is behaviourally and emotionally ‘normal’ and, as a consequence, what counts as a ‘disorder’.
We define the field of mental health research as the study of behaviour and affects that are socially considered deviant, as well as the institutions and professionals concerned with, and the categories and concepts arising within psychiatry, neurology, genetics and the other medical disciplines concerned with the understanding of these disorders. In a number of different ways, the Internet appears to have given rise to what we might call recompositions of the field of mental health. Internet use has been thought to cause a number of disorders, such as addiction (Valleur, 2009 ; Young, 1998), depression and isolation (Mohseni & Sohrabi, 2007 ; Sanders, Field, Diego & Kaplan, 2000). On the other hand, certain uses of new communication technology have been seen as being beneficial to mental health by reducing the risk of depression (Pénard et al., 2011 ; Ford & Ford, 2009). On another level, relationships between individuals and mental health professionals and institutions have been transformed by new media technologies, which as potential interfaces for health care raise new possibilities for therapy (Zermatten, et al., 2010 ; Leroux, 2008 ; Radillo, 2009), new deontological questions (Convert & Demailly, 2003), new practical concerns (Palazzolo, 2003) and a need for the evaluation of online information tools (Reavley & Jorm, 2011). Furthermore, the Internet has given rise to new forms of collective action around illnesses and treatments, in which organizations of patients or patients’ families find ways to intervene in the professional fields of medicine and psychology (Méadel, 2006). Some consider this to signal the emergence of a new enlightened health care consumer, likely to reconfigure the traditional mercantile model of relationships in health care (Le Pen, 2009 ; Nabarette, 2002), or of a more reflexive consumer of medication (Méadel & Akrich, 2002).
Suggested core issues
This issue of Reset aims to further the conceptualization and study of the recompositions of the field of mental health in relation to and on the Internet. We call for proposals dealing with this core issue and suggest several directions for quantitative, qualitative and theoretical inquiry:
• Implications of the Internet for labeling theories (Link & Phelan, 1999a, 1999b ; Scheff, 1966 ; Thoits, 1985), for instance in terms of the “observability” (Hacking, 1998) of disorders through Internet use or in terms of changes in processes of individual categorization as being mentally ill.
Causes and modalities of new “pathologies” and new “therapies” related to networked communication technology. Social and historical perspectives on the construction of such categories (Oliveri, 2009), on the concrete experience of allegedly new forms of illness and care and on the ways social actors appropriate them.
• Reassessing the social role of the mentally ill, in regard to uses of the Internet. To what extent does this mean an additional step in rethinking Goffman’s insitutions and the subsequent “opening” of psychiatry (Estroff, 1985)? How does Internet use affect the relation between role accumulation and issues related to mental illness (Gove & Tudor, 1973)? What are the implications of the Internet as an individual means to redefine identity (Kennedy, 2006 ; Turkle, 1995) or to avoid stigmatization (Brossard, 2011)?
• In addition to empirical work addressing these core questions, the journal welcomes contributions to two sections intended to broaden the scope of discussion:
Contemporary relevance of social science classics. This section is dedicated to theoretical reflections on the heuristic value of pioneering social science works, ranging from Weber to Elias, Durkheim to Foucault or Merton, Becker or Goffman for instance, or any theories considered fundamental with respect to a specific concept or area.
• Opening disciplinary horizons. This section welcomes perspectives beyond the usual boundaries of social science, such as economics, law and medical disciplines broadly defined.
Reset also accepts submissions of abstracts for work unrelated to the specific thematic orientation of the issue, but focusing on Internet as a research object or research method for the study of social science issues. With respect to the criteria of empirical and theoretical quality, these submissions are evaluated in the same way as responses to the specific call for papers.
Abstracts of no more than 400 words are expected by December 31, 2011. Responses will be given by January 15, 2012.
Complete papers of no more than 7,000 words (plus bibliography) are expected by April 15, 2012.
Please submit your proposals to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reset follows a process of double-blind peer-reviewing. Submissions are anonymized before evaluation and evaluators remain anonymous. Each paper is assessed by at least three reviewers: one issue editor, one member of the editorial board, and one external expert specialized in the relevant field.
Brossard, Baptiste (2011), Les conditions sociales de l'automutilation juvénile. Une approche sociologique, Thèse de doctorat, Paris, EHESS-ENS.
Convert, Bernard et Lise Demailly (2003), « Internet et les professions de santé », Réseaux, vol.120, n°4, pp. 241-269.
Estroff, Sue (1985), Making it crazy: an ethnography of psychiatric clients in an American community, Berkeley, University of California Press.
Ford, George S. et Sherry G. Ford (2009), « Internet Use and Depression Among the Elderly », Phoenix Center Policy Paper, n°38.
Gove, Walter R. et Jeannette F. Tudor (1973), « Adult Sex Roles and Mental Illness », American Journal of Sociology, vol.78, n°4, pp. 812-835.
Hacking, Ian (1998), Rewriting the Soul, Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Kennedy, Helen (2006), « Beyond anonymity, or future directions for internet identity research », New Media & Society, vol.8, n°6, pp. 859-876.
Leroux, Yann, (2008), « Psychothérapies en ligne ? Histoire, questions éthiques, processus », Psychothérapies, vol.28, n°3, p. 211-221.
Link, Bruce G. et Jo C. Phelan (1999a), « The labeling theory of mental disorder (II): The consequences of labeling », in Horwitz, Allan V. et Teresa L. Scheid (dir.), A handbook for the study of mental health, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 361–376.
Link, Bruce G. et Jo C. Phelan (1999b), « The labeling theory of mental disorder (I): The role of social contingencies in the application of psychiatric labels » in Horwitz, Allan V. et Teresa L. Scheid (dir.), A handbook for the study of mental health, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 139–149.
Méadel, Cécile (2006), « Le spectre "psy" réordonné par des parents d’enfant autiste », Politix, vol.73, n°1, pp. 57–82.
Méadel, Cécile et Madeleine Akrich (2002), « Prendre ses médicaments/prendre la parole : les usages des médicaments par les patients dans les listes de discussion électroniques », Sciences sociales et santé, vol.20, n°1, pp. 89-116.
Mohseni, Manouchehr et Mohammad H. Sohrabi (2007), « The Internet use and users’social isolation (cafe-net users Of Teheran) », Iranian Journal of Sociology, vol.7, n°4, pp. 72-95.
Nabarette, Hervé (2002), « L’internet medical et la consommation d’informations par les patients », Réseaux, vol.114, n°4, pp. 249–286.
Oliveri, Nicolas (2009), La cyberdépendance, lieu empirique d’observation des limites des courants technophiles et technophobes : étude communicationnelle de l’otakisme japonais et des pratiques réseautiques des jeunes internautes français, Thèse de doctorat, Clermont-Ferrand, Université Blaise Pascal.
Palazzolo, Jérôme (2003), Informer le patient en psychiatrie: Rôle de chaque intervenant : entre légitimité et obligation, Paris, Elsevier Masson.
Le Pen, Claude (2009), « "Patient" ou "personne malade"? », Revue économique, vol.60, n°2, pp. 257-271.
Pénard, Thierry, Nicolas Poussing et Raphaël Suire (2011), « Does the Internet Make People Happier? » (August 29, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1918937
Radillo, Adrian (2009), « L’expérimentation de l’utilisation des jeux vidéo en remédiation cognitive », Enfances & Psy, vol.44, n°3, pp. 174-179.
Reavley, Nicola J. et Anthony F. Jorm (2011), « The quality of mental disorder information websites: A review », Patient Education and Counseling, vol.2, n°85, pp. 16-25.
Sanders, Christopher E., Tiffany M. Field, Miguel Diego et Michele Kaplan (2000), « The relationship of Internet use to depression and social isolation among adolescents. », Adolescence, vol.138, n°35, pp. 237-242.
Scheff, Thomas J. (1966), Being mentally ill: a sociological theory, Chicago, Aldine.
Thoits, Peggy A. (1985), « Self-labeling processes in mental illness: The role of emotional deviance », The American Journal of Sociology, vol.91, n°2, pp. 221-249.
Turkle, Sherry (1995), Life on the screen : identity in the age of the Internet, New York, Simon & Schuster.
Valleur, Marc (2009), « La cyberaddiction existe-t-elle ? », Psychotropes, n°15, pp. 9-19.
World Health Organizazion (2001), The world health report 2001 - Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope, Geneva, WHO.
Young, Kimberley (1998), « Internet addiction: The emergence of a new clinical disorder », CyberPsychology & Behavior, vol.3, n°1, pp. 237-244.
Zermatten, Ariane, Françoise Jermann, Yasser Khazaal et Guido Bondolfi (2010), « Programme Internet de traitement du jeu excessif », Psychotropes, vol.16.
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