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Heroin Narratives: Normalisation and Demonisation of Heroin Use at a Swedish OnlineMessage Board
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2014 (English)In: Sociology Study, ISSN 2159-5526, E-ISSN 2159-5534, Vol. 4, no 8, 714-727 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Heroin is considered potent and addictive and users are often stigmatised as the other. On the internet, however, hegemonicideas about drugs can be resisted. This study elucidates how efforts to normalise and demonise heroin meet at a Swedish online message board (Flashback Forum). The study aims at analysing how heroin use is given meaning by discussants in athread called “I will start with heroin”. The data were perceived and structured as a collaborative, overarching narrative about when, why, and for whom heroin use can make sense. Discussants used stories about pleasure‐seekers, miserable junkies, and self‐medicating addicts to depict the activity as unproblematic and rational, problematic and irrational, or as problematic and rational. No stories about heroin use departed from the plot‐lines of pleasure maximisation and pain minimisation. Results elucidate a discursive battle in which: (1) heroin use as minimisation of pain “wins” over heroin use as maximisation of pleasure; and (2) there is a general agreement that heroin use cannot be irrational and unproblematic at the same time. It is suggested that these features are central to contemporary drug discourse, and that they probably hinder public understanding of why people use heroin and therefore contribute to keep users stigmatised.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 4, no 8, 714-727 p.
Keyword [en]
Heroin, internet, narrative, construction, qualitative
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110390OAI: diva2:771146
Available from: 2014-12-12 Created: 2014-12-12 Last updated: 2016-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Ekendahl, Mats
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