Medicine and Its Objects presents…
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 4:30-6:00PM
(PhD Student, SSA)
DEFINING USE AND ABUSE IN THE DEBATE ABOUT PSYCHOTROPIC DRUGS IN THE ILLINOIS CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM
with opening comments by
(PhD Candidate, SSA)
Abstract of the Dissertation Proposal: This ethnographic study will examine the role psychotropic drugs play in shaping bureaucratic practice in a time in which rates of drug use are at once treated as a measure of an organization’s capacity (or incapacity) to care for clients and as an institutionally legitimized form of therapeutic intervention. Children in foster care are prescribed psychotropic drugs at a rate three to five times higher than their non-foster peers on Medicaid, and they are also significantly more likely to be prescribed three or more drugs simultaneously. While this is widely considered problematic, the issue of the child welfare system’s drug dependence has been articulated in various terms, with scholars and advocates alternating between cultural, neurological and bureaucratic formulations of both the problem and its solutions. Some posit that drugs are used too frequently due to a cultural assumption that fixes should be quick, while others believe such poorly researched “fixes” endanger children and don’t necessarily improve their behavioral or mental health. Many see the issue as one of poor systemic integration, asserting that managing psychotropic drug use requires better communication of expertise between various actors involved in case management. In all accounts, however, drugs are treated as objects upon which professionals act rather than actors in their own right. To complement and complicate this perspective, this study will produce (1) a historical discourse analysis of the roles and relationships psychotropic drugs have generated between child welfare and other systems, (2) an ethnographic account of the social life of drugs in child welfare as it relates to professional practices and (3) a “dialogue” between the various actors involved in the debate about the proper uses of psychotropic drugs.
Please email Camille (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of the paper.
For any questions and concerns about the workshop, or if you need assistance in order to attend, please contact Camille Roussel (email@example.com).
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