Addiction Ideology

alec ramsdell a_ramsdell at
Sun Jul 12 17:29:54 PDT 1998

And of course naming addiction a disease can be another, in some ways more insidious, technique of disempowerment and validation of racial claims: it assigns certain attributes to the person's "soul". It's that whole movement to soft discipline (Foucault's _Discipline & Punish_).

The debate over incarceration versus treatment is pertinent here. Instead of punishing drug offenders (users) with prison, the much less expensive option of 12-step based treatment centers is suggested. But ultimately really neither will do, though treatment centers are the much more "humane" route to go, and the obvious choice for the offender. And much less expensive. Still, the tangled core of issues of addiction remains--from the usefullness to legitimate economic, judicial and policing institutions of maintaining the illegal drug economy, to more secondary psychocultural matters, like identity through consumption, pleasure.


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