Mediated self-care and the question of agency

  • Rodney H. Jones University of Reading
Keywords: agency, mediated discourse analysis, narrative, Quantified Self, self-care, technologies


This article analyses the discursive construction of agency in narratives of 'mediated self-care', stories of disease management and/or recovery in which particular material or discursive technologies play a central part. Specifically, it analyses two stories of self-care, one told in the context of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and the other told in the context of a Quantified Self 'meetup'. The analytical apparatus I will bring to bear on these data is mediated discourse analysis, an approach to discourse whose primary focus is on the actions and identities made possible when people appropriate 'technologies' into particular situations (or 'sites of engagement'). The analysis focuses on how narrators construct their relationship with the technologies they use, how they describe the process of mastering these technologies and how these technologies are represented as emblems of group membership. The analysis reveals how different kinds of technologies of self-care are associated with different constructions of the self and individual agency and different constructions of 'wellness'.

Author Biography

Rodney H. Jones, University of Reading

Rodney H. Jones is Professor of Sociolinguistics at University of Reading. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Macquarie University. His recent books include Discourse and Creativity (Pearson, 2012), Discourse Analysis: A Resource Book for Students (Routledge, 2012), and Understanding Digital Literacies: A Practical Introduction (with Christoph Hafner, 2012, Routledge).


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How to Cite
Jones, R. H. (2019). Mediated self-care and the question of agency. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 13(1-3), 167-188.