Caught in a lie: the rise and fall of a respectable deviant

Anita Lavorgna, Lisa Sugiura

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In this study we draw on the concept of respectable deviance to understand the journey into deviance – from her rise as an alternative health expert through to her public disgrace – of Belle Gibson, a young Australian blogger, app publisher and alternative medicine advocate who falsely claimed to have cured cancer without reverting to science-based medicine. Through the rigorous analysis of a series of media and documentary sources where Ms Gibson provided autobiographical accounts of her life experience, the argument is presented that the promotion of one’s self as a health expert and subsequently being outed as a fraudster encourages techniques of neutralization and particular presentations of self to respond and manage negative labelling and the stigma attached.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)1043-1056
Number of pages14
JournalDeviant Behaviour
Issue number9
Early online date3 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • alternative medicine
  • respectable deviance
  • harm
  • neutralization techniques
  • presentations of self


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