Therapeutic consumptions of performance among young people: trajectories and information networks
Therapeutic consumption among youths has been a topic of recent interest in various scientific fields, namely medical, social and political. This interest is focused on the consumption of products to enhance cognitive and body performance to which this generational group is most exposed. Our project falls within this domain and the object of analysis is the trajectories of performance enhancement consumption among youths in Portugal, more specifically on the consumption of the so-called smart drugs and lifestyle drugs. While the former are linked to investments in cognitive performance (enhancing intellectual performance or overcoming natural or neurophysiologic limits), the latter are linked to body performance (investment in growth, muscle development, etc). This spectrum of performance consumption encompasses both pharmaceutical and natural products. The key purpose of our project is to assess the specificity of the emerging youth therapeutic cultures, namely in terms of performance investments (pharmacological and natural), and how these display the blurring of the traditional boundaries between health and illness, between the normal and the pathological. The main analytical objective is to identify the cultural dispositions of youths vis-à-vis these consumptions as well as the role of information networks - notably the internet and everyday sociability contexts - in the production of these dispositions.