Joseph Davis, Research Associate Professor
The pharmacological revolution, symbolized in our time by such drugs as Prozac and Ritalin, has been building for decades and has brought a sea change in attitudes toward psychoactive medications and tens of millions of prescriptions for them. The revolution is not merely a matter of new medical treatments; it is a cultural phenomenon that is changing the ways we think about ourselves and experience the world in contexts far removed from the psychiatrist’s office and any conventional questions of mental illness. The course explores the social forces driving the revolution forward, including the definition and expansion of disorder categories and shifts in the ethos of medicine toward a consumerist model, and how these are linked with wider social and cultural changes. These changes, in turn, have generated new forms of distress and disconnections in people’s lives, new ideals/obligations of self and social performance, and redefinitions of “normal,” which help account for the nature and incidence of the problems that psychoactive medications are taken to address. The course will conclude with a discussion of the social and ethical implications and consequences of “Prozac culture” and the “backlash” that has emerged in recent years.
SOC 2500: Sociology through Cinema 
This course thus aims to appreciate the synergies between Sociology and cinema, to understand the role of cinema in social life, and to use cinema as a way of bringing to life and fleshing out sociological themes.
Last Modified: 31-Aug-2012 16:57:09 EDT
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