The discursive formation of health. A study of printed health education material used in primary care

Staffan Selander, Margareta Troein, John Finnegan, Lennart Råstam

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12 Scopus citations


This study analyses printed educational material on cholesterol, food and health-related lifestyle changes used in primary care in southern Sweden. Two theoretically grounded perspectives are used: orientation of knowledge and rhetoric. According to the first one, the material contained many examples of abstract and detailed knowledge, such as tables of energy contents, and a little less of action-oriented and detailed knowledge, such as food recipes. We also found a few examples of comprehensive, abstract knowledge, such as theoretic explanations. Action-oriented and comprehensive knowledge, relating health to lifestyle, were rare. The rhetoric style of the material was generally dominated by plain facts, without any identified voice (i.e, sender) or any emotional orientation. Overall, information was not related to 'the voice of the life-world' but to 'the voice of medicine', and it was in character more general than specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was financially supported by grants from the Swedish National Corporation of Pharmacies’ Fund for Research in Health Economics and Social Pharmacy, the National Institute of Public Health, and the Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Sweden.


  • Health education
  • Orientation of knowledge
  • Printed health information
  • Rhetoric


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