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Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit x Jaar 2016 x
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Moving beyond the other

A critique of the reductionist drugs discourse

Tijdschrift Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden drug use, drug users, drug policy, drug reform, media, discourse, the other
Auteurs Stuart Taylor
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This paper uses the UK as a vehicle through which to argue that a dominant reductionist drugs discourse exists which simplifies understandings of drug use and drug users leading to socio-cultural misrepresentations of harm, risk and dangerousness. It contends that at the centre of this discourse lies the process of othering – the identification of specific substances and substance users as a threat to UK society. Interestingly, within the wider context of global drug policy reform this othering process appears to be expanding to target a wider variety of factors and actors – those policies, research findings and individuals which contest normative notions, resulting in the marginalisation of ‘alternative voices’ which question the entrenched assumptions associated with drug prohibition. The paper concludes that there is a need for collective action by critical scholars to move beyond the other, calling for academics to be innovative in their research agendas, creative in their dissemination of knowledge and resolute despite the threat of being othered themselves.


Stuart Taylor
Stuart Taylor is senior lecturer in criminal justice in the School of Law at Liverpool John Moores University, UK.
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