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Prescriptive Prescriptions: Pharmaceuticals and Healthy Subjectivities

Final Report Summary - PPPHS (Prescriptive Prescriptions: Pharmaceuticals and Healthy Subjectivities)

This project looked at the way a healthy adult is described in pharmaceutical discourses found in advertising, policy, medical science. To do this, we focused on drugs that are either helping younger bodies into ‘healthy’ adult hood (like the HPV vaccination and hormone treatments for adolescents) or are trying to address aging bodies that are reaching the other end of the adult subject position (like treatments for prostate problems and Alzheimer’s disease). By looking at how these specific drugs and their ‘diseases’ are discussed, we have been able to see what aspects of the ‘healthy’ adult subject are particularly highlighted.
Theoretically, the study has been infused with inspiration from medical sociology, science and technology studies, gender studies and posthumanism. Much of our work can find an interdisciplinary home within feminist technoscience studies. One of the results of our study has been the development of ‘refraction’ as a theoretical term to articulate the discursive in the material-discursive entanglements we have studied. Results have been published in 4 books, 3 PhD thesis and numerous articles.