Egher, Claudia, MSc.

Mental Health Expertise Online. The production of expertise on bipolar disorder on online platforms in English and French

Department of Technology and Society Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University, claudia.egher@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Supervisor(s): Professor Sally Wyatt

Background

Bachelor: Liberal Arts and Sciences, Tilburg University

Major: Social Sciences

Minor: Postcolonial Studies (Utrecht University)

Thesis: The Unbearable in the Body: Today’s Monsters and The Stories Their Bodies Tell Us

Research Master: Cultures of Arts, Science and Technology, Maastricht University

Thesis: The Chronicles of a Foretold Label: Biological Citizenship and DSM-5 Autism Diagnostic Criteria in the U.S.A

Summary

The democratization of science and the ideal of public inclusion have challenged the traditional conceptualization of expertise as the attribute of a small core set of specialists, endowed with esoteric knowledge attested by official accreditations. In the field of mental health, the identity of experts has been called into question on multiple occasions, depending on various scientific, social, political, and technological conjectures. Nowadays, the Internet has engendered new challenges and opportunities, yet surprisingly little is known about online forms of expertise and about the ways in which distinct cultural perspectives and social values inform online contributions. Because knowledge on mental health carries important cultural markers, this research aims to understand how expertise on bipolar disorder is enacted on various types of online platforms in French and English. The comparative study of bipolar disorder across different intellectual traditions will highlight how and to what extent local values and practices and distinct scientific perspectives shape online expertise. The proposed research will provide important insights into the roles different modalities and materialities play in the realization of online expertise, into the ways cultural distinctions underline such enactments and the skills required to successfully do so.