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Transcult Psychiatry. 2009 Mar;46(1):131-56. doi: 10.1177/1363461509102291.

Uncanny scripts: understanding pharmaceutical emplotment in the aboriginal context.

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University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, WI 53211, USA.


This article outlines a new social reality of global psycho-pharmaceutical prescribing: the pharmaceutical family, or ;phamily.' Ethnographic case studies from Manitoba, Canada (2002 to 2004) show how pharmaceutical emplotment, involving a synergy between cultural and drug scripts, can have uncanny consequences for vulnerable groups, such as Aboriginal children. Observations and interview transcripts of high prescribing doctors are analyzed to understand the prescribing logic of using psychoactive medication, such as methylphenidate, in young Aboriginal children diagnosed with FASD and/or ADHD. Pharmaceutical narratives are presented in order to show how non-compliance to psychotropic prescribing can further marginalize Aboriginal children and is related to the history of colonial practices in Canada.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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