Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 March 2022
The aim of this book was to explore the ways in which the governance of illicit drug use shapes female dependent drug users’ lives. Their subjectivities, and hence their experiences, are shaped and regulated by drug policies. The relationship between the social regulation of female drug users and the construction of their subjectivities has been explored, which involved, first, an investigation into the ways in which women who are identified as having ‘problematic’ drug use are positioned in academic discourse and in official governmental policy. Second, it involved an analysis of the dominant governmental technologies of power from which the key constructions of women as ‘problematic’ drug users emanate in the UK, US and Canada – punishment and prohibition, medicalisation and welfarisation. The construction of female users’ subjectivities in policy discourse and the impact the characteristics ascribed to them have on their experiences have also been examined. Third, it investigated the meanings that women who identify as having dependent drug use attach to their drug use and to themselves. Insights were gathered from the in-depth accounts of 40 female drug users in the UK. Finally, the ways in which dependent female drug users position themselves vis-à-vis the ways in which they are positioned in governmental technologies was explored. This involved an examination of the operation of three technologies of the self operating in the lives of the 40 female drug users – the ascription of characteristics, normalisation and responsibilisation.
An analysis of the punishment and prohibition, public health and welfare strands of drug policy discourse, and how female users are constructed as a problem to be governed within them, was conducted. This was based on the assumption that objects of government are discursively constructed, and it is these constructions that make female users amenable to governmental intervention and regulation. It was found that the discourses of drug policy are not mutually exclusive, but interweave, overlap and combine in different ways to make particular subject positions available to female users. These emanate from the operation of governmental technologies operating in the UK, US and Canada, which intersect, intertwine and reinforce each other in the regulation of female illicit drug users.
- The Governance of Female Drug UsersWomen's Experiences of Drug Policy, pp. 269 - 276Publisher: Bristol University PressPrint publication year: 2015