The Cultural Production of a Pharmaceutical Market: The Making of ADHD
The pharmaceutical industry has grown into a global market worth nearly $1 trillion. How are we to make sense of this sudden upsurge? As I argue, the rising demand for pharmaceuticals must be contextualized within a culture of consumption, where health practices are yoked to individuals’ purchasing habits. Through a case study of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and behavior-controlling drugs affecting six million children in the United States, this analysis shows how discourses of prevention and the quick fix originated in the school, family, and medical establishment; shape consumer demand; and are employed effectively in pharmaceutical advertising. This article concludes that the demand for pills is constructed by entangled discourses that induce new ways of relating to health and illness.