Governing young people’s drug use: Crime, harm and contemporary drug use practices

Pereira, Margaret (2014) Governing young people’s drug use: Crime, harm and contemporary drug use practices. In Richards, Kelly & Tauri, Juan Marcellus (Eds.) Crime, Justice and Social Democracy : Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference 2013, Queensland University Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 32-42.

Abstract

Since the nineteenth century, drug use has been variously understood as a problem of epidemiology, psychiatry, physiology, and criminality. Consequently drug research tends to be underpinned by assumptions of inevitable harm, and is often directed towards preventing drug use or solving problems. These constructions of the drug problem have generated a range of law enforcement responses, drug treatment technologies and rehabilitative programs that are intended to prevent drug related harm and resituate drug users in the realm of neo-liberal functional citizenship.

This paper is based on empirical research of young people’s illicit drug use in Brisbane. The research rejects the idea of a pre-given drug problem, and seeks to understand how drugs have come to be defined as a problem. Using Michel Foucault’s conceptual framework of governmentality, the paper explores how the governance of illicit drugs, through law, public health and medicine, intersects with self-governance to shape young people’s drug use practices. It is argued that constructions of the drug problem shape what drug users believe about themselves and the ways in which they use drugs. From this perspective, drug use practices are ‘practices of the self’, formed through an interaction of the government of illicit drugs and the drug users own subjectivity.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 66348
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
ISBN: 9780987467843
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology not elsewhere classified (160899)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 21 Jan 2014 02:00
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2014 11:18

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