Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Social Bonds in the Initiation of Methamphetamine Use

I presented this at the 7th Annual Suburban Studies Conference at Kennesaw State University last week. In a nut shell:
  • underlying assumptions about the nature of the "self" are greatly shaping how the phenomenon called "addiction" is discussed
  • an expanded notion of selfhood allows us to understand how addiction, as a discursive practice, can be possible
  • issues of relapse and how to effect drug use cessation may be better understood when considering drug use cessation as suicide
  • reciprocity is central to identity formation both in drug use initiation as well as necessary in drug use cessation.
Quick note: My comment about prisons, early on in the slides, makes more sense when the animation works. The illustration, taken from Thomas Kasulis, shows the primary understanding in the West of identity. In this understanding we have a series of externalized relationships that exert influence on our lives. When it becomes too much, or in adolescence, we hear the phrase, "I'm going off (to Europe, the military, whathaveyou) to find myself - who I really am." We see it with Jesus in the Wilderness even, or of Zarathustra returning to the towns where he is ridiculed. If the animation worked, you would see that when we go off to find ourselves, it looks an-awful-lot like solitary confinement in prison. I (radically) would suggest that the reason we see all aspects of our Late-Modern lifestyle as addictive is rooted in our notions of reciprocity and mutual vulnerability.
Boshears_Suburban Conference 2009

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