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An examination of the normalization of cannabis use among 9th grade school students in Sweden and Switzerland
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
2007 (English)In: Addiction Research and Theory, ISSN 1606-6359, Vol. 15, no 6, 601-616 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article attempts to improve the models and theories researchers use when investigating drug use in the normal population. The study systematically investigates two dimensions of the normalisation thesis, namely behavioural and cultural normalisation. Whilst the former is measured based on national prevalence rates, the measurement of the latter dimension is based on parameters used in social control theory. More concretely, cultural normalisation is measured based upon the comparative strength of social bonds of cannabis users vs. non-users. The regression analysis, conducted on a Swedish and Swiss student sample, suggests that cannabis users in both the countries are reasonably bounded to conventional society, yet total cultural normalisation does not exist as social bond factors successfully separate users from non-users. Furthermore, the study shows that cultural cannabis normalisation does not necessarily follow behavioural cannabis normality. As such the study brings light to the fact that the normalisation concept may be useful to the investigation of drug-taking in very different drug-taking contexts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 15, no 6, 601-616 p.
Keyword [en]
cannabis comparative study Normalisation thesis social control theory
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-24324DOI: 10.1080/16066350701433233ISI: 000251517000005OAI: diva2:197234
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6871Available from: 2007-05-30 Created: 2007-05-14 Last updated: 2010-08-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Socially Integrated Drug Users: Between Deviance and Normality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Socially Integrated Drug Users: Between Deviance and Normality
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to improve our knowledge of substance users in the normal population. The main concern is with how the meaning of drug use is constructed. To answer this, the thesis draws on different theoretical principles and mixed methods design.

The thesis is made up of four sub-studies, with interconnected foci. The first three papers are based on a qualitative research project in which 44 socially integrated drug users in Stockholm were interviewed. The fourth paper is a cross-national quantitative analysis of nationally representative student samples.

The first of the three qualitative papers explores the construction of the informant’s self-identity. The second paper analyses the informant’s perceptions of drug-related risk, whilst the third paper analyses the drug users’ perception of differences between men’s and women’s drug use. The fourth paper sets the detailed analyses of the first three papers in a broader comparative frame, exploring differences in the correlates of drug use, in light of the different levels of drug use in Sweden and Switzerland.

The thesis reveals that the drug users are striving to be understood as normal integrated citizens of Swedish society. They present themselves as inherently different from drug abusers and the informants’ risk perceptions are based on a modified form of core Swedish cultural ideals of conscientiousness. The informants also waver back and forth when called upon to discuss gender and drug-taking. On the one hand they were explicit about existing differences between men’s and women’s drug use; on the other hand they were quite uncomfortable having to explicitly explain them, as this meant that they needed to draw on conservative gender roles, something which in Swedish society is a strong sign of being politically incorrect. Furthermore, the thesis shows that young drug abstainers and cannabis users are quite similar in regards to conventional social bonds.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Centrum för socialvetenskaplig alkohol- och drogforskning (SoRAD), 2007. 90 p.
Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1650-819X ; 7
Socially integrated drug users, Sweden, Switzerland, drug normalization, mixed methods
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6871 (URN)978-91-7155-439-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2007-06-20, Philipssalen, hus 3, Kräftriket, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2007-05-30 Created: 2007-05-14 Last updated: 2010-10-21Bibliographically approved

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