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Mental Health and Celebrities: A Discourse Analytic Study.

Taggart, Susanna. (2012) Mental Health and Celebrities: A Discourse Analytic Study. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This research sought to explore how mental health issues (hereafter, MHI) are constructed in celebrities’ autobiographies. Traditionally, media coverage of MHI has drawn on negative and one-dimensional representations. However, MHI are now being discussed in the media in new ways, including forming the focus of celebrity autobiographies. In addition, celebrities are increasingly being involved in mental-health campaigns, and the general literature on celebrity is under-researched. Therefore, their portrayals of MHI are considered worthy of research. Critical discursive psychology was the chosen method for this study, as this allows the analysis to focus on both the immediate context and wider social discourses. Six autobiographical accounts were analysed. The analysis explored three interpretative repertoires: legitimisation of MHI which constructed MHI as a legitimate concern worthy of attention; addressing an unbalanced self which dealt with the variability of agency in relation to MHI, and deconstruction of ‘celebrity’ which constructed celebrities as ordinary. These repertoires made several subject positions available/unavailable including: patient/consumer/survivor of mental health services and the good/bad mother. Ideological dilemmas arose where these subject positions constructed different responsibilities, for example in relation to caregiving relationships. The text also worked to manage the authors’ stake in the production of accounts and deflect criticism. Dominant discourses relating to gender and the medical establishment were reiterated within the accounts. In terms of usefulness, this research adds to the knowledge of culturally available representations. These accounts legitimise MHI and present more two-dimensional and balanced accounts of MHI. However, some representations are limited or out-dated, which indicates that psychologists have work to do promoting psychological understandings of MHI in the public domain.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Taggart, Susanna.
Date : 2012
Additional Information : Thesis (Psych.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2012.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 14 May 2020 14:27
Last Modified : 14 May 2020 14:31
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/856636

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