On Social Plasticity: The Transformative Power of Pharmaceuticals on Health, Nature and Identity

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
RC15 Sociology of Health (host committee)

Language: English

Drugs can be envisaged as major devices of a pharmaceutical regime constituted of networks of actors, institutions and artefacts as well as cognitive structures (Williams et al., 2011). However, although pharmaceuticals are considered as “[t]he most dominant and portable mechanisms of biomedicalisation” (Clark et al., 2010), most studies focus either on macro-analyses of structures, institutions and collective actors that produce, market and use pharmaceuticals or on micro-analyses of specific drug trajectories. 
The goal of this regular session is thus to invest the interzone between these two major trends by exploring, through case studies as well as theoretical papers, the role of medications per se in transforming perspectives and shaping contemporary subjectivities (Collin, accepted). 
Many studies on medicalization have shown how drugs contribute to the blurring of boundaries between health and illness. However, we suggest that drugs also play a major role in the process of molecularisation through enhancement and the transformation of what is considered natural and artificial in everyday life, and in the shifting of the border that separates ethically acceptable extensions of corporal limits from the inacceptable ones. Finally, through biosocialisation, medications would play a significant role in the blurring of boundaries between conformity and resistance to dominant social norms.
To develop a theoretical and empirical reflection around this interzone, we aim at soliciting communications on the role of pharmaceuticals in relation to:

  • the production of new normativities; 
  • biosocialisation and identity;
  • new corporal territories and the extension of the body’s limits.
Session Organizer:
Johanne COLLIN, University of Montreal, Canada
Philippe LE MOIGNE, INSERM, France
Social Plasticity and Pharmaceuticalisation
Johanne COLLIN, University of Montreal, Canada
Psychostimulants in the Digital Space: An Insight into Pharmaceuticalisation
Caroline ROBITAILLE, Universite de Montreal, Canada
Before Pharma: Transforming Samples into Bio-Objects
Brigida RISO, CIES-University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal
Proto-Medicalised Practices. the Role of Functional Foods.
Paulo MONTEIRO, Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal
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