Niels Søndergaard, Ricardo Dias Da Silva | World Trade Review
This article examines historical trends in the reporting of health, illness and medicine in UK and Italian newspapers from 1984 to 2017. It focuses on the increasing “biomedicalization” of health reporting and the framing of health and medicine as a matter of technoscientific interventions. Methodologically, we relied on two large datasets consisting of all the health- and medicine-related articles published in the online archives of The Guardian (UK) and la Repubblica (Italy). These articles underwent a quantitative analysis, based on topic modelling techniques, to identify and analyse relevant topics in the datasets. Moreover, we developed some synthetic indices to support the analysis of how medical and health news are “biomedicalized” in media coverage. Theoretically, we emphasise that media represent a constitutive environment in shaping biomedicalization processes. Our analyses show that across the period under scrutiny, biomedicalization is a relevant, even if sometimes ambivalent, frame in the media sphere, placing growing centrality on three dimensions: i) health and well-being as a matter of individual commitment to self-monitoring and self-surveillance; ii) biomedicine as a large technoscientific enterprise emerging from the entanglement between research fields and their technological embodiments; iii) the multiverse reforms of welfare systems in facing the trade-off between universal health coverage and the need to render the national healthcare system more sustainable and compatible with non-expansionary monetary policies and austerity approaches in managing state government budgets.