Skip to main content
  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2023

Digital Healthcare and Expertise

Mental Health and New Knowledge Practices

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Critically engages with dominant perspectives on expertise in the fields of social sciences and psychology

  • Connects current debates around mental health and expertise with literature on digitally mediated patient engagement

  • Offers a cutting-edge resource for scholars from multiple fields, including STS, medical sociology and media studies

  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access.

Part of the book series: Health, Technology and Society (HTE)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Studying Expertise Online

    • Claudia Egher
    Pages 1-36Open Access
  3. Epistemic Inroads from the Asylum to Digital Psychiatry

    • Claudia Egher
    Pages 37-70Open Access
  4. The Drama of Expertise About Bipolar Disorder Online

    • Claudia Egher
    Pages 71-108Open Access
  5. Online Expert Mediators: Expanding Interactional Expertise

    • Claudia Egher
    Pages 145-187Open Access
  6. Expertise in the Age of Big Data

    • Claudia Egher
    Pages 225-243Open Access
  7. Back Matter

    Pages 245-248

About this book

This open access book explores how expertise about bipolar disorder is performed on American and French digital platforms by combining insights from STS, medical sociology and media studies. It addresses topical questions, including: How do different stakeholders engage with online technologies to perform expertise about bipolar disorder? How does the use of the internet for processes of knowledge evaluation and production allow for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder to reposition themselves in relation to medical professionals? How do cultural markers shape the online performance of expertise about bipolar disorder? And what individualizing or collectivity-generating effects does the internet have in relation to the performance of expertise? The book constitutes a critical and nuanced intervention into dominant discourses which approach the internet either as a quick technological fix or as a postmodern version of Pandora’s box, sowing distrust among people and threatening unified conceptualizations and organized forms of knowledge.


  • Digital health
  • Mental health
  • expertise
  • illness narratives
  • online patient engagement
  • solidarity
  • affective labor
  • computer-mediated discourse analysis
  • STS
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Health and Illness
  • Digital Sociology
  • Knowledge and Innovation
  • Open Access


“The digital era sits on an unsteady amalgam of hype and doom scenarios concerning the emancipating power of the internet and the democratization of expertise. Claudia Egher succeeds in astutely navigating these sweeping claims to produce a more nuanced and complex picture of technologically mediated knowledge production. Her relentless search for the how, who and where of the enactment of expertise on bipolar disorder online takes the reader on a journey that shuttles between vast theoretical literatures on expertise and the power of technology and culture to shaping it, and its actual performance. In the process, she gives voice to the new experts of bipolar disorder, where user agency is reconciled with choice architecture and solidarity persists, as a latent and stubborn dimension of individualization and personalization.” (Tamar Sharon, Professor of Philosophy, Digitalization and Society, Radboud University Nijmegen)

“Adopting a science and technology studies approach, this intriguing book shows how expertise has different meanings to the diverse actors who are part of defining and managing biopolar disorder. As Egher's analysis demonstrates, material practices and standpoints combine to enact expertise in specific contexts. This book will be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about how expertise is multiple, dynamic and complex.” (Deborah Lupton, SHARP Professor in the Centre for Social Research in Health and Social Policy Research Centre,  UNSW Sydney)

“This book offers a novel approach to expertise as a practical and collective achievement. With its sharp and effective focus on mental health and digital communities, it produces wide-ranging and generally applicable conclusions about expertise and the internet’s potential to democratize knowledge. The lucid description of exchanges on digital platforms on bipolar disorder makes this book a must-read for mental health professionals, STS researchers and public health policymakers alike.” (Wiebe E. Bijker, Professor of Technology & Society, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Health, Ethics and Society, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

    Claudia Egher

About the author

Claudia Egher is a postdoctoral researcher in the department Health, Ethics and Society at the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences of Maastricht University. Her research interests include the digitalization of (mental) healthcare, the social and cultural dimensions of emerging science and technologies, and innovative participatory practices through which citizens engage in matters of shared concern in (mental) healthcare.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)