Drug use and affective politics: The political implications of social emotional training
2016 (English)In: Contemporary Drug Problems, ISSN 0091-4509, E-ISSN 2163-1808Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
This article examines how a Swedish program for social emotional learning establishes a relationship between the subject and emotions, and the political implications of this relationship. This includes an examination of how emotions fit with notions of “evidence-based policy” in the drug field. The key questions are: (1) How are emotions constituted in programs of social emotional training (SET)? (2) How is the subject and its relationship to emotions and social norms constituted in this program? (3) What are the political implications of the relationship between the subject and emotions? The article shows that the SET program seeks to instill in the subject the ability to identify and control emotions in order to become an emotionally mature subject. The program establishes a neurodisciplinary regime where the subject is to “re-wire” its synaptic links through repetition, decoupling emotions from their cultural context. Emotions are thus reified as internal entities arising from the central nervous system. The SET program constructs a social bond which demands adherence to specific social norms governing democratic participation. The subject is expected to control its emotions and engage in cooperation, negotiation, and conflict resolution within a model of democratic communication. Refusal or inability to adhere to the norms implicit in this model of communication risk relegating the subject to the sphere of the irrational, thereby disqualifying certain practices and responses from the sphere of the political. This is what happens to drug users, as drug use is constructed as an expression of irrationality. The SET program also pacifies individuals politically by turning issues such as drug use, unemployment, and education into matters of acquiring skills rather than political action.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Prevention science, social emotional learning, skills enhancement, politics, Carol Bacchi, Sara Ahmed
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131149DOI: 10.1177/0091450916660818OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-131149DiVA: diva2:936475