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Tilpasning, modstand eller alternativ identitet? En diskursanalyse om konstruktionen af identitet blandt mennesker med psykisk lidelse

Höjgaard, Jeanne LU (2015) SOAM21 20142
School of Social Work
Abstract
Adaptation, resistance or alternative identity? - A discource analysis of construction of identity among people with mental illness

The aim of this study was to examine how people with mental illness construct their identities through linguistic interaction. The empirical study took place in three psychiatric centers (social psychiatry) and the empirical material was based on six focus group interviews with users of the psychiatric centers as well as participatory observations. The theoretical approach is social constructivism. Discourse analysis was used to analyze how users construct and negotiate their identity.
In the empirical material three major discourses are seen. A discourse about diseases, a discourse about age and a... (More)
Adaptation, resistance or alternative identity? - A discource analysis of construction of identity among people with mental illness

The aim of this study was to examine how people with mental illness construct their identities through linguistic interaction. The empirical study took place in three psychiatric centers (social psychiatry) and the empirical material was based on six focus group interviews with users of the psychiatric centers as well as participatory observations. The theoretical approach is social constructivism. Discourse analysis was used to analyze how users construct and negotiate their identity.
In the empirical material three major discourses are seen. A discourse about diseases, a discourse about age and a discource about treatment. Between these discourses there are several paradoxes. First of all the informants position themselves as people with mental illness when their diagnoses are liftet as a central factor and thereby becomes central for their identity. It also appeared that the informants in the construction of both individual and collective identity position themselves as people who are vulnerable and marginalized and in need of support in the society. At the same time they struggle to appear "normal" and to be included in society on equal terms with "ordinary" people, and to be regarded as credible and accepted for whom they are. The construction of identity is contradictory. The informants try to highlight positive things about the disease or appear as individuals with positive resources and thereby construct positive identities. In the construction of collective identity, it also emerge that the informants through the institutional framework create communities that help them to stick together. These communities gave informants the opportunity to challenge and resist stigmatizing discourses. In addition the informants also appeared as a vulnerable group that would "fight" to be seen and heard, among other vulnerable groups. An alternative identity obtained in the empirical material is the pensioner with mental illness. In this discource about elderly there is a paradox between mental illness and age. The results show that the identity as a pensioner apparently "take over" and make the identity as "sick" invisible, which have consequences for the construction of identity.
Finally, it can be concluded that the informants have difficulty finding their place in society and "do not fit" anywhere. But why is it so difficult to include people with mental illness in the society? Results indicate that informants are "trapped" in a historic discriminatory discourse about mental illness that is due to structural discrimination. But at the same time they speek about themselves in terms of a psykosocial treatment discource. This implicates that it´s the individual who have to "improve" in order to obtain inclusion in society and not the society which have to change in order to include people with mental illness. (Less)
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author
Höjgaard, Jeanne LU
supervisor
organization
course
SOAM21 20142
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Discource analysis, mental illness, identity, institutional context, social constructivism, resistance.
language
Danish
id
4940954
date added to LUP
2015-01-26 12:18:16
date last changed
2015-01-26 12:18:16
@misc{4940954,
  abstract     = {Adaptation, resistance or alternative identity? - A discource analysis of construction of identity among people with mental illness

The aim of this study was to examine how people with mental illness construct their identities through linguistic interaction. The empirical study took place in three psychiatric centers (social psychiatry) and the empirical material was based on six focus group interviews with users of the psychiatric centers as well as participatory observations. The theoretical approach is social constructivism. Discourse analysis was used to analyze how users construct and negotiate their identity. 
In the empirical material three major discourses are seen. A discourse about diseases, a discourse about age and a discource about treatment. Between these discourses there are several paradoxes. First of all the informants position themselves as people with mental illness when their diagnoses are liftet as a central factor and thereby becomes central for their identity. It also appeared that the informants in the construction of both individual and collective identity position themselves as people who are vulnerable and marginalized and in need of support in the society. At the same time they struggle to appear "normal" and to be included in society on equal terms with "ordinary" people, and to be regarded as credible and accepted for whom they are. The construction of identity is contradictory. The informants try to highlight positive things about the disease or appear as individuals with positive resources and thereby construct positive identities. In the construction of collective identity, it also emerge that the informants through the institutional framework create communities that help them to stick together. These communities gave informants the opportunity to challenge and resist stigmatizing discourses. In addition the informants also appeared as a vulnerable group that would "fight" to be seen and heard, among other vulnerable groups. An alternative identity obtained in the empirical material is the pensioner with mental illness. In this discource about elderly there is a paradox between mental illness and age. The results show that the identity as a pensioner apparently "take over" and make the identity as "sick" invisible, which have consequences for the construction of identity. 
Finally, it can be concluded that the informants have difficulty finding their place in society and "do not fit" anywhere. But why is it so difficult to include people with mental illness in the society? Results indicate that informants are "trapped" in a historic discriminatory discourse about mental illness that is due to structural discrimination. But at the same time they speek about themselves in terms of a psykosocial treatment discource. This implicates that it´s the individual who have to "improve" in order to obtain inclusion in society and not the society which have to change in order to include people with mental illness.},
  author       = {Höjgaard, Jeanne},
  keyword      = {Discource analysis,mental illness,identity,institutional context,social constructivism,resistance.},
  language     = {dan},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Tilpasning, modstand eller alternativ identitet? En diskursanalyse om konstruktionen af identitet blandt mennesker med psykisk lidelse},
  year         = {2015},
}