Lessening the Evils, Online
Embodied molecules and the politics of hope in Parkinson’s disease
Virtual communities are an especially rich subject for social scientists studying the dynamic and multifaceted ways that groups negotiate health-related knowledge. What are the forces shaping the health information that virtual community members circulate, evaluate and incorporate? This article explores health information circulating on an international, though mainly North American, email list for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The dual purpose of the list?"of support and knowledge exchange?"is shaped by a particular politics of hope, which channels knowledge and projects it into the future. This politics of hope is, at least partly, based on what I want to call “embodied molecules”?"the effectiveness of medications created by the list’s “cyberbody.” Cyberbodies, in this article, are created through the virtual community members’ embodied learning.