Exploring the Social Constructions of ‘Addiction’ and the Consequences of their Application Within Discursive Practice Through Critical Discourse Analysis

Rowe, Harriet (2021) Exploring the Social Constructions of ‘Addiction’ and the Consequences of their Application Within Discursive Practice Through Critical Discourse Analysis. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

The aim of this research was to explore the consequences of holding different understandings of addiction. A systematic review synthesised research exploring associations between biological-based explanations of addiction and stigma. There was high heterogeneity and variable quality across the included studies, and findings suggest it is not possible to draw clear conclusions of an association between the concepts. Furthermore, it highlighted the challenges of exploring these complex socially constructed concepts, suggesting qualitative methods and the development of ontologies may be of use in future research. To bridge the gap between existing research and the impact of real-world interactions, an empirical study was conducted to illuminate the taken-for-granted socially shared knowledge about addiction, through analysis of discursive practice using critical discourse analysis. Three key discourse topics were identified: the functions of complex addiction, being an “addict” or being “clean” - dualism in addiction, and different perspectives of a “problem”. The consequential use of language highlighted the utility of complex understandings of addiction, discourse and vocabulary that can create and maintain a divide between people who have experience of addiction and those who do not. Implications for clinical psychology include research and clinical work for social change, involvement of the wider ecological systems within individual formulation, and further exploration of a proposed paradigm shift away from diagnostic systems. The findings present a selection of possible representations of constructions of addiction and their functions, and should be considered within the context of the study’s methodology and limitations. A combined discussion and evaluation of the studies is presented, along with selected reflections on the thesis process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2021 14:35
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2021 14:35
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/82239
DOI:

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