Joseph E. Davis is research professor of sociology and moderator of the picturing the human colloquy of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Accounts of Innocence: Sexual Abuse, Trauma, and the Self, also from the University of Chicago Press, and coeditor, most recently, of To Fix or to Heal: Patient Care, Public Health, and the Limits of Biomedicine and The Evening of Life: The Challenges of Aging and Dying Well.
"It can be difficult for pharmaceutical historians to know as much
as we should about the single most important characters in our
histories: the people who actually consume medicines...
Ethnographies and interview-based research provide a crucial
resource for filling this gap, especially historically informed
works like Joseph Davis's Chemically Imbalanced, which is
based on eighty interviews with people who identified themselves as
struggling with sadness, anxiety, or concentration and attention
problems... Davis's analysis is insightful and empathic, and
historians will find it useful as we work to understand the
archivally elusive main characters in our own narratives."--
"Bulletin of the History of Medicine"
"Chemically Imbalanced will no doubt motivate important scholarship." -- "Medical Anthropology Quarterly"
"Chemically Imbalanced raises important questions, offers new insight into the power and reach of the biomedical model and neurobiological thinking, and I highly recommend it. I encourage readers to assign it, especially in graduate-level mental health and illness classes--or any class looking for a discussion on people's experiences with suffering and the broad impacts of biomedical thinking and treatment."-- "Social Forces"
"Chemically Imbalanced is an excellent addition to the works in social sciences and humanities that examine the distress of ordinary Americans from the second half of the twentieth century onward, a period when commercialized pills and the psychology-based notion of self-improvement entered the minds of Americans."-- "Metascience"
"Davis's Chemically Imbalanced tackles a profound issue. Twenty years ago, most of us would have figured people always have and always will explain themselves and what they do in terms of reasons and motives. It was inconceivable we might think in terms of some glitch. Now, as Davis shows, many of us figure it's natural to think in terms of glitches that can be adjusted with meds, the way you might manage your eyesight. In this illuminating book, Davis doesn't force an explanation for this change down our throats, but he will leave readers wondering just how this happened and what, if anything, we should be doing about it."--David Healy, author of Pharmageddon and Let Them Eat Prozac
"Suffering is that experience that seems to escape the bounds of our rational explanations and of the science mobilized to cure it. Chemically Imbalanced documents the ways in which neurobiological metaphors have taken hold of such experience of suffering, reducing it to a mechanical response to the world. This book is an urgent and much-needed addition to our understanding of the many ways in which social control is exerted through the control of suffering. It will compel us to ask questions about the very nature of therapy."--Eva Illouz, author of The End of Love and Manufacturing Happy Citizens