May 24, 2004 – Joseph Dumit: “Managing Mind and Mood through Media and Medications”

Monday, May 24 / 4 PM / Cowell Conference Room


Joseph Dumit, a 1995 History of Consciousness Ph.D. from UC Santa Cruz, is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT. His books include the co-edited Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots (with Robbie Davis-Floyd, Routledge, 1998), and Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (Princeton, 2004). About his talk he writes, “Even as biopsychiatry insists on the pharmaceutical management of emotions, the public relations industry continues to treat the mind as subject to manipulation through talk therapy. Using the case of anti-cholesterol drugs (statins), and based on fieldwork, interviews, online studies, and media analysis, this paper will investigate how facts are used to strategically manage consumer behavior. In turn it will also consider the ways in which active patients take up pharmaceutical-talk into their self-care and develop new ways of living better through chemistry.”

Sponsored by the Hybrid Media Research Cluster