The logics of human growth hormone and the predicaments of old age

Beatriz Cardona*, Brett Neilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Trepidation towards old age has been singled out as the main driving force behind the consumption of anti-ageing products such as human growth hormone (HGH). The rationality imposed by statements suggesting a linear relationship between the uptake of HGH and middle men trying to look younger diverts attention from multiple convergences and divergences taking place across areas such as medicine, global health markets, economic agendas, demographic imperatives and cultural orientations towards later life. The goal of this paper is to explore the dangers implicit in reducing complex social phenomena to a single cause or logic. Drawing on Manuel DeLanda's notion of assemblages, the paper critically analyses the complexity surrounding the phenomena of HGH consumption and its fluctuating and unstable character in anti-ageing markets and mainstream medical approaches to old age. Such an investigation allows us to present some possible scenarios and domains of intervention that are sensitive to the cultural complexity that surrounds the use, production and distribution of HGH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-871
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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