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'What was your blood sugar reading this morning?': representing diabetes self-management on Facebook

Hunt, Daniel; Koteyko, Nelya


Nelya Koteyko


Social networking sites have swiftly become a salient venue for the production and consumption of neoliberal health discourse by individuals and organisations. These platforms offer both opportunities for individuals to accrue coping resources and a means for organisations to promote their agendas to an online audience. Focusing specifically on diabetes, this article examines the representation of social actors and interactional styles on three organisational Pages on Facebook. Drawing on media and communication theories, we situate this linguistic analysis in relation to the communicative affordances employed by these organisations as they publish content online. Diabetes sufferers are represented as an at-risk group whose vulnerabilities can be managed through forms of participation specific to the respective organisation. More popular diabetes Pages draw on the opportunities for social interaction afforded by Facebook and combine informational and promotional content to foster communication between the organisation and its audience. By encouraging reflexive management of diabetes risks, these Pages contribute to the construction of ‘biological citizens’ who interweave habitual interactions on social networking sites with responsible self-care, consumption of health information and health activism.


Hunt, D., & Koteyko, N. (2015). 'What was your blood sugar reading this morning?': representing diabetes self-management on Facebook. Discourse and Society, 26(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 11, 2016
Journal Discourse & Society
Print ISSN 0957-9265
Electronic ISSN 1460-3624
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 4
Keywords Affordances, Biological citizenship, Critical discourse analysis, Diabetes, Facebook, Health, Social actor representation, Social media, Social networking sites, Synthetic personalisation
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copyright SAGE 2015


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