New kinds of (ab)normal? Public pedagogies, affect and youth mental health in the digital age.

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Abstract

In this paper, we offer a new conceptual approach to analyzing the interrelations between formal and informal pedagogical sites for learning about youth mental (ill) health with a specific focus on digital health technologies. Our approach builds on an understanding of public pedagogy to examine the pedagogical modes of address (Ellsworth 1997) that are i) produced through ‘expert’ discourses of mental health literacy for young people, and ii) include digital practices created by young people as they seek to publicly address mental ill health through social media platforms. We trace the pedagogic modes of address that are evident in examples of digital mental health practices and the creation of what we call therapeutic publics. Through an analysis of mental health apps, we examine how these modes of address are implicated in the affective process of learning about mental (ill) health, and the affective arrangements through which embodied distress (Roen 2016) is rendered culturally intelligible. In doing so, we situate the use of individual mental health apps within a broader digital ecology that is mediated by therapeutic expertise and offer original contributions to the theorization of public pedagogy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number99
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2017

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