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Unpacking the hype: critical approaches to psychedelic studies 
Kai Blevins (George Washington University)
Logan Neitzke-Spruill (Baylor College of Medicine)
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Claudia Gertraud Schwarz (Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Hype is a pervasive and consequential phenomenon shaping knowledge production. This panel unpacks the function of hype in psychedelic studies. By examining these dynamics, this panel explores the role of STS scholarship in the production of knowledge about psychedelics.

Long Abstract:

Psychedelics are often represented as transformative technologies, and their potential to radically change individuals, medical practice, and scientific inquiry has only grown as a focal point for discussions about psychedelics in recent years. As many scholars have noted, this emergent field of research has been accompanied by a hype about psychedelics that has influenced not only public perceptions of psychedelic science, but perhaps even scientific practice itself (Yaden, Potash, and Griffiths 2022). Following scholars who argue that hype has accompanied the resurgence of psychedelics in science and society (Langlitz 2023, Devenot 2023), this panel invites contributions that unpack the function of hype in knowledge production about psychedelics. What ways of knowing and forms of expertise are privileged? Which sources and mode of evidence are being circulated? How is the political economy of psychedelic science organized? How is authority constructed in different domains of social life, and how does that relate to the legitimation of psychedelic science? How does hype function as a resource in scholarship about psychedelics, including for STS scholars? In answering these and related questions, this panel aims to create a space for exploring how STS scholarship can contribute to knowledge production about psychedelics while being mindful of the negative tendencies of hype to obscure critical lines of inquiry. We invite submissions that critically examine the role of hype in psychedelic studies as a launching pad for considering how we might leverage STS theories and methods to participate more ethically in the production of knowledge about psychedelics.

Accepted papers:

Session 1