TAZIN REFAT KARIM, then a student at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, received funding in October 2011 to aid research on 'Experimenting with Study Drugs: Legacies of Pharmaceutical Enhancement in American Higher Education,' supervised by Dr. Linda M. Hunt. The circulation of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity (ADHD) drugs such as Adderall for medical, recreational, and academic purposes has become a normative part of the college experience for many Americans. This research relied on anthropological theories and methods to contextualize individual experiences with ADHD and/or Adderall as part of a larger movement towards the pharmaceuticalization of American culture, and specifically, higher education. The interview phase included (23) non-prescription users, (11) prescription users, and (11) non-users who were recruited through convenience snowball sampling in order to trace the micro-economies formed around prescriptions for Adderall. This data shed light on the various strategies students developed in order to maintain agency and rationalize their behaviors as medically, socially, and ethically appropriate. During the participant-observation phase, the researcher identified and followed eleven students from the interviews and examined their interactions with peers, educators, and medical professionals. This data indicates that the circulation and use of Adderall is regulated by a complex moral economy of stakeholders, each motivated by their own ideologies around health and performance. As a result, this project provides insight on how America's growing dependence on pharmaceuticals continues to influence our identities and interactions with the social world.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Michigan State U.
Karim, Tazin Refat, Michigan State U., East Lansing, MI - To aid research on 'Experimenting with Study Drugs: Legacies of Pharmaceutical Enhancement in American Higher Education,' supervised by Dr. Linda M. Hunt