More Dispatches From Buffalo: Addiction Analytics

Editors’ Note: We’re grateful to guest blogger Michael Durfee for adding to our ADHS conference reporting.  Below is the first of three very insightful panel reviews he’s prepared.  Michael is currently a doctoral candidate in History at SUNY Buffalo.  He’s working on a dissertation that examines crack-era drug reform, racial conservatism, the state of race and police/resident relations in New York City, the emergence of hip-hop culture as a counter-narrative, and the politics of symbolism under the Reagan administration.  At the Buffalo meeting, Michael presented a paper (“Len Bias and the Poltiics of the 1980s ‘Crack’ Panic”) which he’ll mention in the third and final of his reports.

Addiction Analytics

David Courtwright began the afternoon by posing a fundamental question:  Has the Internet exacerbated extant addiction?   For Courtwright, the tentative answer appears to be an emphatic yes.  In order to prove his case, Courtwright first points to what he refers to as  “Limbic Capitalism”: The production, marketing, and distribution of goods and services that stimulate pleasure and emotional responses in the limbic region of the brain (gambling, junk food, internet addiction, etc.).  Behaviors elicited by limbic capitalism take on characteristics of addiction and addictive behavior.  Those of us with relatives or friends who spend ample time on social networking sites like facebook, or play Xbox into the early morning hours know all too well how this type of behavior mirrors that of someone, say, hooked on smack.

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