Spectralities of ADHD: hauntological diagnosis amidst agency, politics and pedagogies

Sebastián Rojas-Navarro, Samanta Alarcón-Arcos, Ismael Tabilo-Prieto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Hauntology has become an increasingly alluring concept in social sciences to reflect upon everyday life and how subjects dwell upon scenarios pervaded not only by the potency of the actual but also the haunting of the past and the virtual. Drawing on the concept of ‘hauntology’, we inquire about recurring temporalities and spectrality themes concerning the ‘controversial’ diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Chile. Using participant observation and in-depth interviews with health practitioners, teachers, school staff, diagnosed children, and their peers from 3-year-long research, we examine how the performance of the diagnosis by clinicians at times can produce a modification of the temporality of the diagnosed children from that moment forth. Amidst tension created by educational policies, ideas of well-being, pedagogical practices, and everyday living, the diagnosis keeps repeating its agentic capacity while resisting its decay, becoming ever-present and actual. Once cast, the diagnosis acts as a repeating force that can shape every experience, cancelling the possibility for the child to become different by unfolding out of the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-103
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • ADHD
  • care
  • diagnoses
  • Hauntology
  • mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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