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Drug use and affective politics: The political implications of social emotional training
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8923-0870
2016 (English)In: Contemporary Drug Problems, ISSN 0091-4509, E-ISSN 2163-1808Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

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
2016.
Keyword [en]
Prevention science, social emotional learning, skills enhancement, politics, Carol Bacchi, Sara Ahmed
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-131149DOI: 10.1177/0091450916660818OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-131149DiVA: diva2:936475
Available from: 2016-06-14 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2016-09-20
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: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved

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Roumeliotis, Filip
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