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Following the moving and changing attachments and assemblages of 'addiction': Applying the actor network approach to autobiographies
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences.
Number of Authors: 22018 (English)In: International journal on drug policy, ISSN 0955-3959, E-ISSN 1873-4758, Vol. 54, p. 60-67Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The article applies actor network theory (ANT) to autobiographical data on alcohol dependence to explore what ANT can offer to the analysis of 'addiction stories'. By defining 'addiction' as a relational achievement, as the effect of elements acting together as a configuration of human and non-human actors, the article demonstrates how the moving and changing attachments of addiction can be dynamically analyzed with concepts of 'assemblage', 'mediator', 'tendency', 'translation', 'trajectory', 'immutable mobile', 'fluid' and 'bush fire'. The article shows how the reduction of alcohol dependence simply to genetic factors, neurobiological causes, personality disorders and self-medication constitutes an inadequate explanation. As 'meta theories', they illuminate addiction one-sidedly. Instead, as ANT pays attention to multiple heterogeneous mediators, it specifies in what way the causes identified in 'meta theories' may together with other actors participate in addiction assemblages. When following the development of addiction assemblages, we focus on situational sequences of action, in which human and non-human elements are linked to each other, and we trace how the relational shape of addiction changes from one sequence to another as a transforming assemblage of heterogeneous attachments that either maintain healthy subjectivities or destabilize them. The more attachments assemblages of addiction are able to make that are flexible and durable from one event to another, the stronger also the addiction-based subjectivities. Similarly, the fewer attachments that assemblages of addiction are able to keep in their various translations, the weaker the addiction-based subjectivities also become. An ANT-inspired analysis has a number of implications for the prevention and treatment of addiction: it suggests that in the prevention and treatment of addiction, the aim should hardly be to get rid of dependencies. Rather, the ambition should be the identification of attachments and relations that enable unhealthy practices and the development of harm as part of specific actor networks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 54, p. 60-67
Keywords [en]
Addiction, Actor network theory, Autobiographies, Complex object, Mediator, Assemblage, Tendency, Trajectory, Immutable mobile, Fluid, Bush fire
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158170DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.01.011ISI: 000436212100009PubMedID: 29414487OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-158170DiVA, id: diva2:1234184
Available from: 2018-07-23 Created: 2018-07-23 Last updated: 2018-07-23Bibliographically approved

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