Psychotropic Drugs and Popular Culture: Essays on Medicine, Mental Health and the Media / Edition 1

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About the Book Psychotropic drugs--those intended to change moods, numb anxiety, calm children--are pervasive in American culture. References are everywhere: not just in print ... and electronic advertisements but in television show dialogue, movies, song lyrics, and on advertising paraphernalia like notepads, wall clocks, mouse pads, coffee mugs, pens and pencils. The authors in this compilation of essays on psychotropic drugs and mass culture contend that society has been transformed into an asylum without walls--a "psychotropia." With each new definition of a mental ailment, a new cure is offered, increasing the number of inmates in this borderless asylum and blurring the lines between mental health and mental illness. Eight essays probe this issue, with an introduction and conclusion by the editor. The introduction frames the topic in the dehumanized asylums brought to light in 1961 by sociologist Erving Goffman, and in author Marshall McLuhan’s warning not to be seduced by the media. Essay topics cover: how psychotropia came to be; drug portrayal in Hollywood; advertising in cyberspace and the postmodern condition; the advertising madness that promotes better living through chemistry; food as medicine; the music culture of psychotropia; children and psychotropic drugs; and stereotypes and manipulation in mass marketing. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Psychotropic drugs-those intended to change moods, numb anxiety, calm children-are pervasive in American culture. References are everywhere: not just in print and electronic advertisements but in television show dialogue, movies, song lyrics, and on advertising paraphernalia like notepads, wall clocks, mouse pads, coffee mugs, pens and pencils. The authors in this compilation of essays on psychotropic drugs and mass culture contend that society has been transformed into an asylum without walls-a "psychotropia." With each new definition of a mental ailment, a new cure is offered, increasing the number of inmates in this borderless asylum and blurring the lines between mental health and mental illness.

Eight essays probe this issue, with an introduction and conclusion by the editor. The introduction frames the topic in the dehumanized asylums brought to light in 1961 by sociologist Erving Goffman, and in author Marshall McLuhan's warning not to be seduced by the media. Essay topics cover: how psychotropia came to be; drug portrayal in Hollywood; advertising in cyberspace and the postmodern condition; the advertising madness that promotes better living through chemistry; food as medicine; the music culture of psychotropia; children and psychotropic drugs; and stereotypes and manipulation in mass marketing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786425136
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 231
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence C. Rubin is a professor of counselor education at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, and a practicing psychologist. He lives in Fort Lauderdale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    It's Not about Soma

    If it bothers you to say 'ethical drugs' or 'ethical drug manufacturer,' this book will give you support. More than a decade ago, Stanton Peele calculated that about 130% of us had some psychological disability that required us to join a recovery group. The emphasis in many of those movements, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, was in shedding chemical dependencies. But what about the pressures to develop those dependencies on chemical blisses? The dystopian Huxley view in _Brave New World_ was that Soma would be used by a totalitarian government to make everyone feel happy in any life role. But amidst of the oceans of chemicals that we now ingest, it seems to me that this book's concept of Psychotropia has greater descriptive value. It's not the government, which is merely one facilitator in the administration of chemical dependency. The picture we get this book is a vast marketing enterprise to sell us the mood controls that help take the pain out of living--whatever the source of that pain--and to give us the highs that we need to fully realize our chemically multiplied potentials. There is no centralized government conspiracy. Just a broad consensus in the rock music world, in the medical therapy world, in the educational world, in the drug manufacturing world and in the drug regulatory agencies that approve so many psychological drugs. It is that we need more things to drink or chew for our own psychic good. The 'pill for every ill' has become 'the ill for every pill.' The vast growth of the drug and therapy industries has not made us more healthy, but is creating the interests that must persuade us that we are somehow ill and need some drugs to overcome it. Of course, some of us are 'ill' in ways that call for drugs. The cultural problem is to sort out the fostered needs from the real one--if that is even possible at this point in the evolution of Psychotropia. As an aid in that task, I can't think of a more thorough or well-grounded treatment of music, movies, marketing, therapeutic practice. And it's not just a lamentation about how we are all mindlessly sliding toward blissed out drug dependencies. There are resources in the music, in the films, in the therapeutic community that are critical of the trend. Read this book and get the very big picture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2006

    fascinating critique on the culture of psychotropic drugs

    a highly provocative analysis...covering the main facets of media and how they bring psychotropic promises to our living rooms and ipods

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