Laurie B. Cubbison

Validating illness: Internet activism in response to institutional discourse

Laurie B. Cubbison

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2000; pp: 198
  • Advisor: Porter, James; Harkin, Patricia
  • Source: DAI-A 62/06, p. 2097, Dec 2001
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Mass Communications (0708)
  • ProQuest Document Number:
  • ISBN: 0-493-28663-2
  • UMI Number:

Abstract:

    • The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role played by activism in Internet support groups for people with chronic fatigue syndrome and/or fibromyalgia syndrome. Given that discussion taking place on the support groups indicated that participants often need to engage rhetorically with representatives of a wide variety of social institutions (such as government agencies, medical clinics, insurance companies and the news media), the study examined these various rhetorical situations, the role of institutions in structuring them, and the efforts of support group participants to develop productive rhetorical strategies for dealing with them. The study found that support group members with previous experience with these situations, whether as professionals working within these institutions or as patients negotiating with them, described their experiences and the resulting knowledge gained to other group members in a manner of knowledge-making known as lore, a form of knowledge-making that was facilitated in this study by computer-mediated communication.