SpeakersDr. Scott Vrecko, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, University of Exeter
VenueUniversity of Exeter,Egenis,Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJRoom no: GF7, Byrne House
Event detailsTime: 3:30 - 5:00 PMThis talk examines the cultural politics of pharmaceuticals in 20th century Anglo-American societies. The first half examines the emergence of the notion of the ‘magic bullet’ and how this concept related to the development of science and industry that seeks to develop chemicals that target specific bodily processes in order to remedy specific problems. The second half examines two case studies of the introduction of purported magic bullet drugs into medical and social practice, namely antipsychotic medications and oral contraceptives. In each case, it considers how these new forms of pharmaceutical control over bodily processes have (1) changed ideas about what is or is not ‘biologically possible’ (2) transformed understandings of the nature of social problems; and (3) brought about new, somewhat contradictory, potentials for enhanced personal freedom, and enhanced social and legal control over individuals and populations. The talk will conclude by considering the extent to which pharmaceuticals may illustrate some of the logics of what Gilles Deleuze refers to as post-disciplinary ‘societies of control’.