Le Médicament comme Objet Social

Research

MEDICATIONS AS A SOCIAL AND CULTURAL PHENOMENON

The first four years of MÉOS's funding were characterized by a research program based on an analysis framework taking into consideration the many dimensions of medications. The idea was to consider the life cycle of drugs within society, from production to distribution, to final consumption. Through the dual examination of micro-regulations (role of prescription medicine in health and illness management strategies, patient-practitioner relationships, ideological positioning of stakeholders, multiple reasonings and representations regarding the use of drugs) and macro-social regulations (social-comparative perspective, diversity of cultural referents and socio-historical contexts), the objective of MÉOS was to vary the focus in order to identify the push and pull between these two perspectives.

The 2007-2011 research program is based on the deeper empirical and theoretical (multidisciplinary) understanding of medications that the team’s research and enquiry has provided to date, and the broader questioning that follows. The program is structured along three major research themes that prompt enquiry about the complex interfacing between individual and social conduct, science and culture, the local and the global, economic rationality and collective health choices, therapeutics and performance, and health and disease. These themes correspond respectively to the three concepts of “medicalization,” “socialization,” and “globalization, which we wish to re-examine in order to have a better understanding of today’s ubiquitous and multifaceted “prescription drug phenomenon.”

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