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Media panic, medical discourse and the smartphone

Authors
  • Madsen, Lian Malai
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal of the Sociology of Language
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
May 11, 2022
Volume
2022
Issue
275
Pages
111–128
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/ijsl-2021-0052
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This article investigates a space of upset related to the smartphone with its communicative affordances and implications. The notion of moral panic can be seen as a way of conceptualizing spaces of upset and their discursive frames. Informed by this concept and accounts of the panic discourses particularly directed at media, I examine the upset articulated in Danish media panic discourses, which grants authority from a medical perspective. In addition, I draw on the concept of medicalization and discuss how it becomes sayable within the space of upset related to digitally mediated communication that human interaction through a technological device is not (always) communication, but habit or addiction, to unpack the socio-cultural and sociolinguistic assumptions and implications of this perspective. Empirically, the article focuses on a particularly preeminent voice in the public debate in Denmark about the impact of social media and smartphone use, namely the voice of a medical doctor who has been granted the authority as “digital health expert” and frequently appears in Danish print, broadcast and social media.

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