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Title: From poison to problem : governing the drug using population
Author: Walmsley, Ian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 820X
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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Contemporary approaches to the treatment of problematic drug use situate the individual within a complex system of power-relations. This system of power-relations operates through a wide range of experts, techniques, strategies, institutions and subjectivities. The objective of this PhD research project has been to understand the complexity of these power-relations, how they operate and the effects of their deployment. In many ways, this task has involved problematising some of drug treatment’s most basic and taken-for-granted concepts, such as heroin withdrawal. This thesis adopted a Foucauldian genealogical approach. The discourses of natural recovery and recovery capital, needle fixation and withdrawal were identified and then subjected to a genealogical investigation and critique. This historical excavation opened up a wider discursive field and theoretical interest in the productive effects of a poisoning rationality and dividing practice on the body and population. This then informed a second genealogical investigation and critique. In conclusion, this thesis argues that through subtle and intriguing means, the population, body and subjectivity of the drug user have become the objects of a multifaceted set of discursive and non-discursive practices that extend beyond the institutional boundaries of the drug treatment system and into the life of the individual drug user. These practices have focused upon various domains including health and illness, disease, criminal behaviour, relations with other drug users and non-drug users, education and employment and other behaviours deemed problematic. These practices, and the truths that are dependant upon them, this thesis will argue, have been formed and reconfigured by conditions that are historically contingent and dependent upon various social, scientific, cultural and political influences for their existence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: addiction ; body ; drug policy ; genealogy ; governmentality ; poison