The entire infrastructure and culture of medicine is being transformed by digital technology, the Internet and mobile devices. Cyberspace is now regularly used to provide medical advice and medication, with great numbers of sufferers immersing themselves within virtual communities. What are the implications of this medicalisation of cyberspace for how people make sense of health and identity?

The Medicalisation of Cyberspace is the first book to explore the relationship between digital culture and medical sociology. It examines how technology is redefining expectations of and relationships with medical culture, addressing the following questions: • How will the rise of digital communities affect traditional notions of medical expertise? • What will the medicalisation of cyberspace mean in a new era of posthuman enhancements? • How should we regard hype and exaggeration about science in the media and how can this encourage public engagement with bioethics?

This book looks at the complex interactions between health, medicalisation, cyberculture, the body and identity. It addresses topical issues, such as medical governance, reproductive rights, eating disorders, Web 2.0, and perspectives on posthumanism. It is essential reading for healthcare professionals and social, philosophical and cultural theorists of health.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:


Introduction: Medicine in Society

Mediatized Health Medicine in the Media: ‘Do text in your body parts’ Health & Medicine in Cyberspace The Internet as a Mass Medium? Overview of TextSECTION ONE: CYBERMEDICAL DISCOURSE

Chapter 1: Medicalization in Cyberspace Medicalization & Medical Sociology Consuming Medicalization

Chapter 2: Cybermedical Bodies Digital Culture Retrospective The Cyborg Ritual Visible Humans in BodyWorlds

Chapter 3: Cybermedicine & Reliability Discourse Beyond Information The medical control of health information

Chapter 4: Virtual Governance of Health Behaviour Public Health Promotion in Cyberspace The healthy cyber citizen The commercialisation of obesity discourse in cyberspace Digital Self-Governance Virtual Morality

Chapter 5:

Cyberpatients, Illness Narratives and medicalization

Online health communities Illness narratives Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome and the contradictory culture of cybermedicalizationSECTION TWO: CYBER BODIES

Chapter 6: Partial Prostitution

The eBay Auction for a Human Kidney Not Another Human Clone! Egg Pharm, Inc

Chapter 7: Biological Property Rights in Cyberspace Reproductive Rights in Cyberspace Intellectual & Biological Property Rights Viagra, Spam & CyberPharmacies The End of Medical History and The Last Prosthesis

Chapter 8: The Online Pro-Ana Movement Pro-Ana environments The politics of Pro-Ana Pro-Ana and Cybermedicalization Pro-Ana Bodies

Chapter 9: The Bioethics of Cybermedicalization The Ethics Within Pro-Ana Posthumanism: The Absent Present Textual Bodies Prosthetic Burdens

Conclusion: After-Cyborgs or Artificial Life



"The Medicalization of Cyberspace is a compelling and comprehensive consideration of how the Internet and web are impacting medical practice, communication between experts and patients, the construction of the posthuman body, and many other pressing issues. In clear and precise prose, it consistently avoids the binary rhetoric all too prevalent in discussions about cyberspace and explores the complex interactions currently taking place between and around medical practices and the web. Highly recommended for anyone interested in how the digital cultures of cyberspace are shaping the practice, understanding, and consumption of medicine in the contemporary period.” N. Katherine Hayles, UCLA, Author of 'How We Became Posthuman'

Book Reviews in:

"the richness of the topics treated by Miah and Rich is a reflection of the sheer range they cover, and the variety of the conceptual approaches they discuss. While they do not make one ‘big claim’ into which all of the contents of the book is contextualized, they emphasize different themes and aspects with multi-faceted nuances. Sara Rubinelli, Body & Society (2009)

Andy Miah and Emma Rich have written an insightful and provocative book about cybermedicine, the varieties of knowledge, experience and practice emerging at the intersection of health information and the Web. Lisa M. Mitchell, Surveillance and Society (2009)

For anyone who wants to explore the question of whether digital technology poses particular novel ethical problems, in relation, say, to human reproduction and genetic enhancement, this book is invaluable Hugh McLachlan, Genetic Ethics (2009)

[The Medicalization of Cyberspace] benefits from a wealth of theoretical and empirical work that provides a starting point for understanding the medicalization of cyberspace. The authors have provided a foundation  on which future scholars can explore in more detail the ways in which cyberspace is influencing discourse and action in a range of areas related to bodies and health, even when they exist in the disembodied realm of cyberspace. Sally J. McMillan, New Media & Society (2008)

"there are many aspects of Medicalization of Cyberspace for those interested in the exploration of health and social aspects of cyberspace. This book is a great place to start, explore and really get a feel for what more there is to learn and discover in regards to our changing environments, virtual selves and cyberspacial interactions with the world medically, culturally and socially around us." Kristi Scott, Studies in Ethics, Law and Technology (2008)

Andy miah and Emma Rich have extracted from cyberspace fascinating narratives about topics such as the persistent sexual arousal syndrome, the Visual Human Project, the controversy about an online auction for a human kidney....We had better listen, too." Edward W. Campion, MD, New England Journal of Medicine (2008)

The Medicalization of Cyberspace makes a valid and very necessary contribution to the conversation concerning cyberspace, medicalization and the body. Its value is found in the fact that rather than duplicating arguments already advanced on the positives and negatives of medical information being presented on the web or the horrors which stalk online discussion forms, it digs to the deeper issues of why cyberspace is altering the interaction between medicalization, health and body - a question which is often overlooked. Whilst its immediate readership will be probably be from the field of sociology, the healthcare professional, philosopher and ethicist would do well to engage with Miah and Rich’s thesiunderstanding is going to be reached both now and in the years to come. Matt James, BioCentre (2008)