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Beyond health: medicines, food supplements, energetics and the commodification of self-performance in Maputo.

Authors
  • F Rodrigues, Carla1, 2
  • Lopes, Noémia3, 4
  • Hardon, Anita1
  • 1 Department of Anthropology, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 2 Department of Sociology, Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique. , (Mozambique)
  • 3 Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia (CIES-IUL), Lisbon, Portugal. , (Portugal)
  • 4 Instituto Universitário Egas Moniz - Centro de Investigação Interdisciplinar Egas Moniz (CiiEM), Almada, Portugal. , (Portugal)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Sociology of health & illness
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2019
Volume
41
Issue
6
Pages
1005–1022
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.12880
PMID: 30847964
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

With an increasing range of products in global and local markets, more options are available for individuals to enhance their image and their (cognitive, social and physical) performance. These 'performance consumptions' relate to ideals of well-being and improvement, and are based on constructed desires, expectations and needs that go beyond the (often blurred) dichotomy of health and illness. Drawing from mixed-methods research in Maputo, Mozambique, this paper discusses individuals' use of medicines and other substances - pharmaceuticals, food supplements, traditional herbs, cosmetics and energy drinks - for managing different aspects of their everyday lives. Through an overview of the main consumption practices, we explore the underlying purposes and strategies of users, and the perceived legitimacy and risks involved when using a variety of products accessible through formal and informal exchange channels. From tiredness to sexual and aesthetic management, we show how the body becomes the locus of experimentation and investment to perform in accordance with socially expected roles, individual aspirations and everyday tasks. With insights from individuals' accounts in Maputo, we aim to add to discussions on pharmaceuticalisation of body management by showing how the emergence of new performance consumptions is articulated with the reconfiguration of more 'traditional' consumption practices. © 2019 The Authors. Sociology of Health & Illness published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation for SHIL.

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