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Drug prevention, politics and knowledge: Ideology in the making
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
2014 (English)In: Addiction Research and Theory, ISSN 1606-6359, E-ISSN 1476-7392, Vol. 22, no 4, 336-347 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The quest for rational and effective methods for political action has long been at the forefront of Swedish drug policy and prevention. This article focuses on the ideological dimension of Swedish drug prevention policy during the years 1981–2011 by examining the knowledge utilisation in the construction of drugs as a political problem. Ten public reports have been analysed in terms of how drugs are constructed as problems in policy proposals, including an analysis of how knowledge is used in proposals for preventive measures. There was a marked shift in the 1990s in how the drug issue was constructed as a problem and what preventive measures should be taken. What used to be an issue of social exclusion that should be managed politically on a structural level now became a behavioural concern and a matter of liberal drug values. Values, then, were to be addressed by methods aimed at modifying individual behaviour. The analysis suggests that drug prevention today has been constructed in a way that precludes reading drugs as a problem of social exclusion. Drugs are constructed as a problem to be handled by experts rather than politics, which helps to circumvent demands for political accountability and the very possibility of constructing drugs as a political problem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 22, no 4, 336-347 p.
Keyword [en]
Drug prevention, ideology, knowledge, policy, problem representation, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96391DOI: 10.3109/16066359.2013.856886ISI: 000339139000007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-96391DiVA: diva2:665680
Available from: 2013-11-14 Created: 2013-11-20 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ideological Closure: Drug Prevention in a Post-political Society
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ideological Closure: Drug Prevention in a Post-political Society
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to critically examine drug prevention as a field of problematizations  – how drug prevention becomes established as a political technology within this field, how it connects to certain modes of governance, how and under which conditions it constitutes it’s problematic, the questions it asks,  it´s implications in terms of political participation and representation, the various bodies of knowledge through which it constitutes the reality upon which it acts, the limits it places on ways of being, questioning, and talking  in the world.

The main analyses have been conducted in four separate but interrelated articles. Each article addresses a specific dimension of drug prevention in order to get a grasp of how this field is organized. Article 1 examines the shift that has occurred in the Swedish context during the period 1981–2011 in how drugs have been problematized, what knowledge has grounded the specific modes of problematization and which modes of governance this has enabled. In article 2, the currently dominant scientific discipline in the field of drug prevention – prevention science – is critically examined in terms of how it constructs the “drug problem” and the underlying assumptions it carries in regard to reality and political governance. Article 3 addresses the issue of communities’ democratic participation in drug prevention efforts by analyzing the theoretical foundations of the Communities That Care prevention program. The article seeks to uncover how notions of community empowerment and democratic participation are constructed, and how the “community” is established as a political entity in the program. The fourth and final article critically examines the Swedish Social and Emotional Training (SET) program and the political implications of the relationship the program establishes between the subject and emotions.

The argument is made that, within the field of drug prevention, questions of political values and priorities in a problematic way are decoupled from the political field and pose a significant problem in terms of the possibilities to engage in democratic deliberation. Within this field of problematizations it becomes impossible to mobilize a politics against social injustice, poverty and inequality. At the same time, the scientific grounding of this mode of governing the drug “problem” acts to naturalize a specific – highly political – way of engaging with drugs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2016. 55 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; 63
Keyword
Drug prevention, politics, knowledge, ideology
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131156 (URN)978-91-7649-446-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-09-09, hörsal 2, hus A, Universitetsvägen 10 A, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-08-17 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2017-01-17Bibliographically approved

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