Ritalin®: Panic in the USA

Main Article Content

Toby Miller


 Ritalin® is a popular pharmaceutical. It keeps young people quiet and focused, but attracts intense opprobrium. Beginning with an account of the dimensions of Ritalin®’s use in the United States and controversies surrounding it, this article outlines how this might be understood in moral-panic terms and examines the role of the psy-function and various conflicts of interest, coverage in popular culture, and governmental responses. In many cases, progressive academics and activists have criticised moral panics, recuperating moral-panic folk devils as semiotic guerrillas struggling against authority. In this instance, however, the scene is too complex and multifaceted for that heroisation. There are no good guys; there is lots of panic, from all political-economic quarters. Some of it is justified—and none of it is straightforward.

Article Details

Panic (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside

Toby Miller is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside. The author and editor of over twenty volumes, he has published essays in well over one hundred journals and books. His current research covers the success of Hollywood overseas, the links between culture and citizenship, and anti-Americanism.