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Gender Representations in Online Modafinil Markets

Chatwin, Caroline and Fleetwood, Jennifer (2023) Gender Representations in Online Modafinil Markets. In: South, Nigel and Tzanetakis, Meropi, eds. Digital Transformations of Illicit Drug Markets: Reconfiguration and Continuity. Emerald Studies in Digital Crime, Technology and Social Harms . Emerald, Bingley, UK, pp. 109-126. ISBN 978-1-80043-869-9. (doi:10.1108/978-1-80043-866-820231008/full/html) (KAR id:103012)


This chapter examines representations of gender in online modafinil markets. While gender has often been absent from scholarship on online drug

markets, our analysis demonstrates the ubiquity of gender in representations of modafinil users and sellers. The analysis draws on visual images,

blogs, and marketing emails relating to three websites selling modafinil, discussed pseudonymously. We describe the range of ways that notions of gender are represented in advertising. Although women represent around40% of that buying modafinil online, websites and communications tended

not to feature women. Although sexist stereotypes of women were rarely present (in contrast to direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising),

the ways that modafinil was imagined tended to focus narrowly on corporate spheres of work and productivity. We contrast this narrow imaginary

with female journalists’ own accounts of using modafinil to manage illness and enhance creativity. Thus, we conclude that the ways that modafinil has

been imagined reflects working assumptions as to who is considered the ‘normal’ participant in online modafinil markets.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/978-1-80043-866-820231008/full/html
Uncontrolled keywords: Modafinil; advertising; gender; women; smart drugs; cognitive enhancers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Caroline Chatwin
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2023 12:49 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 13:33 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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