More than blue: discourses of/on women and depression
This dissertation challenges the traditional linguistic and rhetorical approach of studying talk about health and illness via the doctor-patient dyad. Although studies of doctor-patient discourse have often postulated the influence of the patient's "lifeworld," they have rarely questioned how this lifeworld is rhetorically constructed from the discourses available to patients. Focusing on myriad discourses produced by and about women suffering from depression, this project introduces a model of conversational uptake that serves as the basis for analyzing talk critically and textually. Thus, this project extends Anne Freadman's articulation of generic uptake and cultural memory. Uptakes involve putting forward topics or genres and responding to the topics or genres of others. Uptakes can, in this interactional model, be successful, unsuccessful or even partial, depending on the future uptakes of one's interlocutors. But, uptakes are more than simple conversational moves; they are also instantiations of discursive power.Three semi-structured group interviews conducted in June and July 2002 form the conversational corpus for this study. Two groups of women suffering moderate symptoms of depression and one group of mental health professionals were interviewed to provide samples of talk about depression. In analyzing the interviews, the dissertation also engages with selected corpora of pharmaceutical advertisements, popular media articles, self-help literature, and medical and government publications. As the analysis shows, current constructions of depression rely on chemical and mechanical imagery, which simplify the disorder by overlooking social and environmental influences, and reinforce the idea that pharmaceutical solutions are appropriate and sufficient. Chapter one provides an overview of the texts studied and an analysis of the currently circulating discourses on depression; chapter two outlines the theory of conversational uptake; chapter three considers how uptakes use norms and cultural/discursive objects, like the "emotional woman"; chapter four addresses the directionality of uptake's memory; chapter five examines the intertextuality of uptake's memory, and explores how such references involve translations of appropriate subjectivities.
- English