Harm reduction and the ethics of drug use: Contemporary techniques of self-governance

Pereira, Margaret & Scott, John (2016) Harm reduction and the ethics of drug use: Contemporary techniques of self-governance. Health Sociology Review. (In Press)

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Abstract

Drawing on Foucault’s conceptualisation of power, this paper examines public health as a distinctly modern regime of governance. An account of the historical regulation of drug use is traced in order to examine socio-historical shifts and lines of continuity in contemporary technologies of harm reduction. Using qualitative interview data, we examined practices of power in the context of contemporary drug use, including self-governance using techniques of monitoring, self-management and self-tracking. Participants’ accounts revealed that they were encouraged to self-govern their drug use through a variety of reformist technologies that are embedded in harm-reduction programs. It is argued that participants’ subjectivity is formed at the intersection of authoritative governance and self-governance, through ethical practices of the self which have emerged from disciplinary health practices, and incorporate the body as the site of power. We illustrate this by drawing a distinction between hygienist and sanitationist practices of public health. These governmental practices, which are embedded in public health programs, encourage people who use drugs to transform themselves into moral citizens, aligning their ethical practices with governing interests.

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ID Code: 95759
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: drug use, harm reduction, power, self-governance, practices of the self
DOI: 10.1080/14461242.2016.1184583
ISSN: 1446-1242
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) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Causes and Prevention of Crime (160201)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200) > Correctional Theory Offender Treatment and Rehabilitation (160202)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 24 May 2016 23:49
Last Modified: 30 May 2016 16:38

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