Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Legally high, officially lost: injecting NPS use and drug abjection in Post-Communist Romania
Author: Alexandrescu, Liviu Gabriel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 9306
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Since the late 2000s the distribution of what seemed to be unregulated ‘recreational’ drugs by street and online retailers has prompted media hype and public anxiety in Europe and elsewhere. These ‘legal highs’ or ‘new psychoactive substances’ (NPS) were often associated with health risks and antisocial behaviour, and they eventually inspired policy debates along with new scheduling measures. This project explores NPS’ general reception in Romania and their more specific integration into injecting drug users' repertoires, a segment of the local drug market traditionally dominated by heroin. By drawing on mainstream media texts and field data collected around treatment facilities such as a methadone maintenance clinic, it focuses on the troubling moral identities of intravenous substance users and the disciplinary practices of the medico-legal apparatus meant to monitor them. In setting out a moral panic model re-imagined as bouts of collective disgust or social abjection, it seeks to connect lived experiences and moral understandings of emerging drugs with historical layers of prohibition discourses that stratify drug using bodies into abject identities. NPS are thus revealed to shape two types of moral panic as drug abjection in post-communist Romania. The first emerges from media discourse and concerns the clean or valuable youth of the nation, calling for the containment of the new drugs trade to assure the sanitisation and survival of the social body. The second surfaces among injecting drug users, with ‘legalists’ or NPS users being increasingly seen by both drug workers and opiate users as a source of disruption to the regulatory devices and collaborative goals of rehabilitation. This ultimately raises larger questions about the liberal governance of pleasure and consumption in Romania’s transition to market democracy. The fluidity o f ‘NPS’ as a medical and policy object thus seems to indicate the ontological spilling of the rational choice-making self out of the flows of capital, power and historical time
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available