How Does Digital Health Feel? Towards Research on the Affective Atmospheres of Digital Health

Digital Health, (Forthcoming)

17 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2016

Date Written: October 10, 2016


The concept of affective atmospheres has recently emerged in cultural geography to refer to the feelings that are generated by the interactions and movements of human and nonhuman actors in specific spaces and places. Affective atmospheres can have profound effects on the ways in which people think and feel about and sense the spaces they inhabit and through which they move and the other actors in those spaces. Thus far, very little research has adopted this concept to explore the ways in which digital health technologies are used. As part of seeking to redress this lacuna, in this essay I draw on previously published literature on affective atmospheres to demonstrate and explain the implications of this scholarship for future theoretical and empirical scholarship about digital health practices that pays attention to their affective and sensory elements. The article is structured into six parts. The first part outlines the concepts and research practices underpinning affective atmospheres scholarship. In the second part, I review some of the research that looks at place, space and mobilities in relation to affective atmospheres. In the third part I go on to focus more specifically on the affective atmospheres of medical encounters, and then move on to digital technology use in the fourth part. I then address in the fifth part some relevant scholarship on digital health technologies. I end the essay with some reflections of directions in which future research taking up the concept of affective atmospheres in the context of digital health technologies can go. The key research question that these topics all work towards is that asking ‘How does digital health feel?’

Keywords: digital health, affect, affective atmosphere, sociology, health, medicine, healthcare

Suggested Citation

Lupton, Deborah, How Does Digital Health Feel? Towards Research on the Affective Atmospheres of Digital Health (October 10, 2016). Digital Health, (Forthcoming). Available at SSRN:

Deborah Lupton (Contact Author)

University of Canberra ( email )

University of Canberra
Bruce, ACT 2601
61261663437 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics