Digital Atmospheres: Affective practices of care in Elefriends

Tucker, Ian and Goodings, Lewis (2017) Digital Atmospheres: Affective practices of care in Elefriends. Sociology of Health and Illness, 39 (4). pp. 629-642. ISSN 1467-9566

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This article develops the concept of digital atmosphere to analyse the affective power of social media to shape practices of care and support for people living with mental distress. Using contemporary accounts of affective atmospheres, the article focuses on feelings of distress, support and care that unfold through digital atmospheres. The power of social media intersects with people's support and care-seeking practices in multiple ways and not in a straightforward model of ‘accessing or providing support’. Indeed, we find that the caring relations developed through social media often need to be cared for themselves. The article draws on online and interview data from a larger project investigating how practices of care and support are (re)configured in the mental health-related social media site Elefriends. Users have to negotiate the disruption of moving support online, as well as the possibility of becoming subject to a fragility in care, in which caring for oneself becomes bound up in the ambiguities of caring for others. We argue that understanding how experiences of distress are shaped by social media is essential for understanding the implications of the increased digitisation of mental healthcare.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: social media, mental health, affect
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Lewis Goodings
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2017 14:52
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:58

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