Publication Date

April 2012


Jill Morawski


Psychology, Science in Society


English (United States)


While much has been said about new technologies of the self and how they change us, there are a limited amount of studies that examine how specific medications or specific disorders are related to conceptions and articulations of self. A wealth of theoretical work and social criticism about the management of selves has explored claims that humans are becoming pharmaceutical selves. New technologies of self-making, including institutional health campaigns, scientific calibrations of “normal” and “abnormal” sleep, suggestions of health care professionals, and direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals, compel individuals to assess their sleep habits, maximize their sleep potentials, and “reclaim” their selves with a drug. This study seeks to better understand these scientific technologies and their dynamic relations to the experience of self and self-making. It uses the case of insomnia and the pharmaceutical treatment, Ambien, to explore the ways these technologies operate.



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