Politics of Prevention: The Emergence of Prevention Science
2015 (English)In: International journal on drug policy, ISSN 0955-3959, E-ISSN 1873-4758, Vol. 26, no 8, 746-754 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article critically examines the political dimension of prevention science by asking how it constructs the problems for which prevention is seen as the solution and how it enables the monitoring and control of these problems. It also seeks to examine how prevention science has established a sphere for legitimate political deliberation and which kinds of statements are accepted as legitimate within this sphere.
The material consists of 14 publications describing and discussing the goals, concepts, promises and problems of prevention science. The analysis covers the period from 1993 to 2012.
The analysis shows that prevention science has established a narrow definition of “prevention”, including only interventions aimed at the reduction of risks for clinical disorders. In publications from the U.S. National Institute of Drug Abuse, the principles of prevention science have enabled a commitment to a zero-tolerance policy on drugs. The drug using subject has been constructed as a rational choice actor lacking in skills in exerting self-control in regard to drug use. Prevention science has also enabled the monitoring and control of expertise, risk groups and individuals through specific forms of data gathering. Through the juxtaposition of the concepts of “objectivity” and “morality”, prevention science has constituted a principle of delineation, disqualifying statements not adhering to the principles of prevention science from the political field, rendering ethical and conflictual dimensions of problem representations invisible.
The valorisation of scientific accounts of drugs has acted to naturalise specific political ideals. It simultaneously marginalises the public from the public policy process, giving precedence to experts who are able to provide information that policy-makers are demanding. Alternative accounts, such as those based on marginalisation, poverty or discrimination are silenced within prevention science.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 26, no 8, 746-754 p.
Prevention science, Politics, Governmentality, Ideology
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120276DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.03.011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-120276DiVA: diva2:851371