Department of Anthropology, Study Council
Øster Farimagsgade 5, Opgang E, 1353 København K
The working title of my PhD-study is: Online peer-support communities for persons with type 1 diabetes – an ethnographic study of processes and practices of knowledge production and social support in everyday life.
Online communities for persons with type 1 diabetes is increasing in Denmark as well as worldwide, and opens up a virtual space through which exchange of experience, social support and connections among peers are made possible. Previous studies have mainly looked at online support communities as fixed settings isolated from the embodied and contextual everyday life setting. Recent research, however, points to the fact that online and offline worlds are connected and can be felt and experienced as continuous spaces with the online space as a mental settlement within a physical embodied everyday life. In order to understand the benefits and limitations of online peer-support communities for persons with type 1 diabetes, it is essential to know more about how the virtual and the non-virtual worlds are interrelated in everyday life with type 1 diabetes.
The overall objective of this PhD-study is to explore the processes and practices of knowledge production and social support in online peer-support communities for persons with type 1 diabetes and how these relates to everyday life.
Empirically the project is based on fieldwork in a Danish context of persons with type 1 diabetes. With inspiration from the analytical theoretical approach of Science and Technology Studies, praxiography and post-phenomenology, the aim is to follow the person with type 1 diabetes to the specific settings (online and offline) where everyday life with the disease is practiced in order to understand socio-material everyday life processes of knowledge production and social support. Fieldwork will be carried out in real life settings with in-home interviews and observations of socio-material practices, online at social networking communities and at offline social networking sites announced through the online communities.
Some sub-questions to be explored:
§ How do online communities reshape social relationship and support in time and space?
§ How are boundaries between offline-online social dimensions constituted?
It is an industrial PhD-project in collaboration with the Health Promotion Research Centre at Steno and Department of Anthropology, Copenhagen.
Supervisor: Ayo Wahlberg