Dr. Kristin Swenson to Hold Public Lecture on Foucault and ADHD Medicine Ads


On Wednesday, 7 March, at 6 p.m., Dr. Kristin Swenson (Butler University, Indiana) will read a public lecture titled Pharmaceutically Induced ‘Abilities-Machines’: Foucault and the Rhetoric of Pharmaceutical Advertising at the VMU Faculty of Political Science and Diplomacy (Gedimino Str. 44, Room 203).

The guest’s presentation mobilizes the work of Michel Foucault in order to examine the advertisements for ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) medication in the United States—notably, one of two countries to allow the advertising of pharmaceutical drugs directly to consumers. Through a reading of the rhetoric of ADHD promotional materials, this essay argues that parents, and specifically mothers, are directed towards pharmaceutical intervention as a means in which to invest in their own and their child’s human capital or what Michel Foucault refers to as “abilities machines.”

The lecture, which will be held in English and moderated by Assoc. Prof. J. D. Mininger, is part of the Radical Philosophy lecture series at the VMU Dept. of Social and Political Theory.

You are welcome to participate.

Dr. Kristin Swenson is Assistant Professor of Communication at Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A., where she teaches in the Media, Rhetoric, and Culture program. She has published on affective labor and the rhetoric of lifestyle drugs, including a recent contribution to VMU’s own Baltic Journal of Law and Politics, “Affective Labor and Governmental Policy: George W. Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health,” in which she develops her theory of the affective state apparatus to account for the state’s role in governing the affect of the population.

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