The everyday lives of contemporary youths are awash with chemicals and pharmaceutical compounds to boost pleasure, moods, sexual performance, vitality, appearance and health. Nevertheless, most studies of chemical use among young people have focused on the abuse of specific recreational drugs and their role within deviant youth sub-cultures. Instead of explaining drug abuse with the purpose of controlling it, this project aims to examine the pervasive use of chemicals from the perspectives of youths themselves. It aims to understand what chemical and pharmaceutical substances, and not only illicit narcotics, ‘do’ for youths. How are chemicals a part of their everyday lives? What role do they play in calming their fears or in achieving their dreams and aspirations? How can we understand the ways in which chemicals affect their bodies and minds?
The theoretical innovation promised by this project lies in its combining of disciplines – most notably medical anthropology, science and technology studies and youth studies – to formulate a new groundbreaking framework for understanding the complex sociality of chemicals in youths’ everyday lives. The framework will have both scientific and societal impact.
Ethnographic research will be conducted in four medium-sized cities: Marseille in France, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Makassar in Indonesia, and Batangas in the Philippines.
Call for proposal
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