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A very childish moral panic: Ritalin

Miller, T. and Leger, M.C. (2003) A very childish moral panic: Ritalin. Journal of Medical Humanities, 24 (1/2). pp. 9-33.

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This paper examines some of the moral panics around hyperactive children, the construction of Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, and the lure of Ritalin in turning kids identified as “at risk” into successful, productive individuals. Through a historicization of the child as a psychiatric subject, we try to demonstrate Ritalin's part in the uneven development of modern trends towards the pathologization of everyday life, a developing continuum between normality and abnormality, and an emphasis on the malleability of children and the importance of environment in their upbringing. We conclude that Ritalin is a part of modernity's project of turning people into individuals—in this case, a kind of US transcendence fantasy—which, along with discourses and institutions, promises to transform young subjects and biocosmetically alter their futures.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright: © 2003 Human Sciences Press, Inc.
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