Health identities: From expert patient to resisting consumer

Nick Fox, Katie Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the formation of 'health identities': embodied subjectivities that emerge out of complex psychosocial contexts of reflexive modernity, in relation to data on health and illness practices among groups of people and patients using medical technologies including weight-loss drugs and the erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil (Viagra). We examine a range of health identities, from the 'expert patient' - a person who broadly adopts a biomedical model of health and illness, to a 'resisting consumer', who fabricates a health identity around lay experiential models of health and the body. The understanding of health identities is developed within a theoretical framework drawing on previous work on body/self and the work of Deleuze and Guattari. It is concluded that the constellation of health identities reflects the diversity of relations in an industrialized, technology-driven, consumer-oriented and media-saturated society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-479
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


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