Promoting health citizenship and multilingualism in the health insurance industry
Thutloa, Alfred Mautsane
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The thesis explores the role of semiotic structuring of health information in relation to language, multimodality and health literacy and the affordances for agentive participation among consumers of two leading South African medical schemes - Discovery Health Medical Scheme (Discovery Health) and the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS). The focus is on who has access to health information, how this information is constructed and what the semiotic health habitat looks like for citizen-consumers. Through a virtual ethnographic approach the thesis explores the design of genres of health information artefacts: application forms, application guides, a comic book, and a variety of website images. The choice to study the commercial package of a private health industry is aimed at finding and defining codes of practice in health communication that could be replicable in the public health sector. A new perspective emerging out of the thesis is how semiotic structuring of style, stance-taking, and choice of registers affects reading positions, and how these determine with what voice citizenconsumers can engage with this information.
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