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Online communication as improved stigma management in post-stroke aphasia
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), The Wigforss Group.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0826-4735
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: As in most developed countries, a large majority of the Swedish population are Internet users. Within the working-age population, the percentage is >90. Hence a large extent of the literacy practices and identity construction of Swedish people take place online. The increasing importance of being able to read and write is a challenge for people living with an acquired language disorder, such as aphasia (affecting some 10.000 individuals in Sweden every year). Linguistic practices are important mediating tools for identity construction. Aphasia can therefore be understood not only as (partially) losing one’s language and literacy skills per se, but also as being deprived of one’s identity. However, this is rarely taken into account in aphasia rehabilitation, and research combining aphasia, identity and online communication practices is scarce.

Aim: The aim of the current study is to examine how working-age Swedish Internet users with post-stroke aphasia construct their identity online.

Methods: Interviews were conducted with nine Swedish individuals (aged 26-61, three men and six women) with post-stroke aphasia. In addition, a total of >2000 online posts (e.g. photos, videos, text, emoticons) made by the same participants were collected.

Results: Analyses of the data, based on Goffman’s theory of stigma management, indicated that the participants made active choices whether to display or hide their aphasia online. Some of them proudly displayed their difficulties (e.g. by posting their medical record, or posting texts with errors) while others made efforts to hide them (e.g. by sharing texts written by others instead of writing themselves, or preferring emoticons or the like-button over commenting in writing), thus creating a difference between their offline and online identity. Offline, this kind of stigma management was less available to them.

Conclusion: A possible conclusion is that the participants’ online literacy practices to a large extent aimed at controlling who knew what about them, i.e. to control their stigma by presenting different identities in different contexts. It appears as if the participants consider the Internet, with its wide range of communication tools (including pictures, like-buttons, emoticons), a better arena for stigma management than their offline practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
Keyword [en]
aphasia, online communication, literacy, stigma management, identity
National Category
Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-34239OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-34239DiVA: diva2:1146360
Conference
Language, Literacy and Identity International Conference, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom, July 1-2, 2016
Available from: 2017-10-02 Created: 2017-10-02 Last updated: 2017-10-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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