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Student Profile: Misha Laurence

Here is the latest installment of ADTSG’s student profiles feature!

These profiles are a way for the ADTSG membership to become acquainted with the next generation of anthropologists of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.  In this vein, each profile will introduce one graduate or undergraduate student to the group by asking them a series of questions related to his/her background and career aspirations in this field.

In this installment, we are profiling Misha Laurence, a recent graduate from Grinnell College.

Why did you choose to study anthropology?

When I first went to college, I frankly had no idea what anthropology was, nor any passion for it, nor any predictions that I would end up loving it so much. Although I was always interested in human behavior, I started college with the intention of studying neuroscience (and possibly philosophy, in case I wanted to go to law school). At the time, it was honestly the only way I could conceive of studying human behavior. 

One upside of attending a liberal arts college like Grinnell College (which has rather flexible graduation requirements) is that I was actively encouraged to take classes in a variety of disciplines. Nonetheless, I was a little shocked when I was placed into an introductory anthropology course, as I do not remember marking that down on my registration form as a second or even a third choice. The course was taught by a professor whose research focuses on families. There didn’t seem to be anything in common between her interests in mine at first, but I unexpectedly found myself genuinely fascinated by class discussions. Quite a few students in that course, as I recall, were not actually intending to major in anthropology at the time, so people from diverse disciplinary backgrounds participated in our conversations. I was mostly a STEM-focused student with a passing familiarity with some philosophy at that point (mostly bioethics), and I actually felt my contributions were valued even as other people challenged them. So I decided I simply could not switch out of that course – it was that good.

What I did not predict was that taking this course actually threw me off-track for my intended biology major. If I wanted to continue in biology, my total time at college would have been more than four years, and I simply could not afford that kind of expense. I had a bit of a breakdown, and went to some anthropology professors for help. We eventually figured out that I had actually already fulfilled many of the prerequisites of the anthropology major by accident, and it would be easy for me to graduate on time in that major. After some introspection, I realized it would be much better, both short-term and in the long run, to graduate on-time in a field I actually enjoyed, instead of taking more time to complete a major I was beginning to get bored of anyway. (No offense to biology at all! It’s obviously an important and interesting field. It just wasn’t for me.) 

Additional anthropology courses confirmed to me that this was the right choice. I really liked anthropological perspectives on explaining why humans act and think the way they do. And the best part was that I did not have to discard my other interests or anything else I had learned so far – having multiple perspectives enriched what I got out of the experience. 

Why are you interested in alcohol, drugs, and tobacco research?

I entered the field of drug research through my interest in cannabis. However, I decided to study medical cannabis in particular, mostly because I have personal connections to it. Quite a few people I know use or have used cannabis for medical and/or recreational purposes (though I personally think this dichotomy is a misleading one). In addition, I grew up in Washington State and have lived through legal battles about cannabis, and seen firsthand the profound implications it has had for Washington’s cultural, economic, and political landscape. And growing up with a chronic illness made me seriously consider at times if my symptoms would be relieved if I used cannabis. (At the time, though, I was too scared to bring up the topic to anyone or try it for myself.) 

To me, American politics always seemed obsessed with drugs of all kinds, including alcohol. Our fixation on drugs is connected with how we talk about class, crime, health, immigration, race, and so many other issues. Drugs, disability, and health are thus some excellent windows into American history and the American experience. Also, I was thrilled to realize that I was watching history unfold in real time. 

Medical cannabis in the United States is, in my opinion, an understudied topic in the social sciences. Most research I have seen focuses on “recreational cannabis” (though I personally consider the medical/recreational dichotomy a false one). This obscures the diversity of cannabis users and subtly reinforces the perception that cannabis use is a social problem or perhaps just a trivial concern, rather than a public health phenomenon concerning people’s very real suffering and pain. After some reflection, I think the same can be said for many other drugs as well, particularly in how they are connected to disability, which is connected in turn to our cultural perceptions of human worth and deep difference. 

What are your research plans for studying alcohol, drugs, and tobacco?

Before I graduated, I already decided that I didn’t want to go to graduate school right away. I want to gain firsthand experience actually working “in the field” of drug-related public health, and not just to be an anthropologist! Despite all the virtues of anthropological perspectives, I also feel the need to divert myself from it, at least for a while, and be more genuinely embedded in other contexts. 

That’s not to say I don’t care about anthropological research – I really do, and I plan to enter graduate school in a few years. But first I need to make up my mind about what kind of program would best suit my goals. (Medical anthropology? Applied anthropology? A dual anthropology PhD/MPH degree? I’m not really sure yet.) No matter how theoretical and abstract my research gets, I want it to be clearly and obviously translatable to people’s current practical needs. That’s why I’d love to focus on intersections between cannabis and other topics like class and disability, especially outside of the United States. Public health focuses more and more on underserved populations, and combined with drugs, that’s something I’d be very excited to be a part of. 

If you are a student and would like to be profiled for the ADTSG website, please contact ADTSG’s Student Liaison, Breanne Casper, at casperb@mail.usf.edu for more information!

Breaking Convention Awards

A UK-based psychedelic research organization called Breaking Convention has a call for several research awards and student essay prizes! 

RESEARCH AWARDS
Breaking Convention is proud to announce that we are opening nominations for the 2017 annual research awards. We will be giving three awards of £500 and a place on the 2019 programme as an invited speaker, one each for best published Scientific, Social Science, Humanities publications. The criteria are simple, the publication must be peer reviewed, from 2017, and, of course, about psychedelics. The deadline for nominations will be 5th of November (so you remember) 2018. So, get your thinking caps on and let us know what you think the best psychedelic bits from 2017 are!

While you are at it, keep in mind that 2018 is half way done and the nominations deadline for these same three awards for this year is coming up fast. We will want nominations for best Humanities, Scocial Science and Science publication by April 1 2019.

Please send nominations with a link to the article to Cameron@breakingconvention.co.uk with the subject 2017 Research Award or 2018 Research Award.

STUDENT ESSAY PRIZES
This award is £500 and a place on the 2019 programme as an invited speaker, for an original student essay or research report submitted by a confirmed Masters or Doctoral student in the three categories of Social Science, Humanities and Science. The winning essay/reports are to be 3-4000 words, relevant to psychedelics, and within the student’s field of study. The authors of the winning essay/reports will also be invited to speak at Breaking Convention in 2019. Student essays submitted by the end of the year will be considered for the 2018 award and those submitted from 1 January 2019 to April 1 2019 will be considered for the 2019 award. Get your pens to paper!

Please send submissions as a doc or txt file with your surname and either 2018 or 2019 (ie Adams2018.doc) to Cameron@breakingconvention.co.uk with the subject 2018 Student Essay or 2019 Student Essay.

For more information about Breaking Convention: www.breakingconvention.co.uk

 

REMINDER: ADTSG 2018 Graduate Student Paper Prize

The July 1 submission deadline for the 2018 Graduate Student Paper Prize for the Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco Study Group (ADTSG) of the Society for Medical Anthropology is coming up!  

ADTSG invites submissions for the best graduate student paper in the anthropology of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, or other psychoactive substance use. A committee of ADTSG members will judge qualifying submissions.  The author of the winning paper will receive a cash award of $100, and her or his name will be announced at the Society for Medical Anthropology awards ceremony at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November.  Submissions from all anthropological sub-disciplines are encouraged.

QUALIFYING CRITERIA

  • No more than 9,000 words
  • Must be based on original fieldwork and data
  • Must have been written in the past 12 months
  • Primary or first author must be a graduate student at time of submission
  • May be unpublished or submitted for publication at the time of submission

JUDGING CRITERIA

  • Originality of fieldwork and data
  • Richness of substantive or evidentiary materials
  • Clarity of anthropological methods
  • Linkage of work to social science literature
  • Effective use of theory and data
  • Organization, quality of writing, and coherence of argument

SUBMISSION PROCESS

  • Please do not include your name or any identifying information in the paper itself.
  • Papers must be double spaced and in PDF format (please include page numbers).
  • References and in-text citations should be formatted according to Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Please submit via email to Shana Harris, Chair of ADTSG, at shana.harris@ucf.edu
  • Submissions must be received by 5:00PM EST on July 1, 2018, for full consideration.

Questions may be directed to Shana Harris at the above email address. We look forward to your submissions!

Student Profile: Naciely Cabral

Here is the latest installment of ADTSG’s student profiles feature!

These profiles are a way for the ADTSG membership to become acquainted with the next generation of anthropologists of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.  In this vein, each profile will introduce one graduate or undergraduate student to the group by asking them a series of questions related to his/her background and career aspirations in this field.

In this installment, we are profiling Naciely Cabral, a Ph.D./M.P.H. student at the University of South Florida.

Why did you choose to study anthropology?

In the pursuit of an undergraduate degree in anthropology, I laid the foundation for an academic and research career by broadening my understanding of the intersectionality between diseases, environments, and health outcomes. I intended to take courses addressing the biological and genetic dimensions of disease and human development; my anthropology course load reflected my awareness of the social and economic dimensions of disease. Indeed, the multidisciplinary nature of anthropology prompted my desire to understand and address the impact social and economic contexts have on disease interactions. With that relationship in mind, I decided to expand my academic and applied background and get my feet wet in fieldwork research concerning HIV/HCV syndemics. To do so, I applied to the Medical Anthropology and Cross-cultural Practice (MACCP) master’s program at Boston University School of Medicine.

Why are you interested in alcohol, drugs, and tobacco research?

Under the tutelage of Dr. Bayla Ostrach and Dr. Nancy Romero-Daza, both of whom are deeply familiar with syndemics and have worked with Dr. Merrill Singer, who developed the concept, I am pursuing my research interests in substance use, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis C syndemics. Mainly, I am drawn to questions addressing the experiences of people suffering from these conditions. Indeed, people suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C co-infection are vulnerable to socially marginalizing factors.  I am interested in ethnographically investigating experiences of these additive risks and to identify the pathway of interactions categorizing substance use as an important structure of risks. Therefore, I seek to ethnographically explore perceptions of risk for interactions between the social, economic, and structural conditions that shape them. That said, it is no surprise that I use anthropological concepts (i.e., syndemics) to conceptualize the interrelationship between HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and substance use practices and the subsequent worsened health outcomes.

What are your research plans for studying alcohol, drugs, and tobacco?

For my future Ph.D. fieldwork, I aim to address the role of substance use in the development of syndemic clustering and multi-syndemic interactions. To do so, the project will also identify HIV/AIDS risks relevant to the population in question, with a special focus on women living with and suffering from the cumulative effects of HIV/AIDS and HCV, addiction, and substance use practices. Additionally, I aim to investigate experiences of the subsequent deleterious health effects among people living under the effects of economic precarity. For instance, some of the effects of economic precarity are: unstable housing, food insecurity, unstable employment, and unpredictable access to health care. These relationships may indicate the syndemics potentially experienced by women living with both HIV/AIDS and another chronic condition (e.g., HCV, diabetes, substance use disorder, or depression) in the context of food insecurity, poverty, and/or violence (structural, symbolic and everyday). That said, fieldwork offers opportunities to closely examine and analyze practical as well as theoretical implications of substance use as a syndemogenic factor.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?

After I finish my Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology, I will continue the concurrent M.P.H degree in Maternal and Child Health, where I continue my research interests. Notably, I will explore the impact substance use practices have on women, with a special focus on mothers who report a history of engaging in the practice of substance use. Although my training at the University of South Florida has just begun, I continue to further my scholarly training and applied syndemics research.

If you are a student and would like to be profiled for the ADTSG website, please contact ADTSG’s Student Liaison, Breanne Casper, at casperb@mail.usf.edu for more information!

ADTSG 2018 Graduate Student Paper Prize

The Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco Study Group (ADTSG) of the Society for Medical Anthropology invites submissions for the best graduate student paper in the anthropology of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, or other psychoactive substance use. A committee of ADTSG members will judge qualifying submissions.  The author of the winning paper will receive a cash award of $100, and her or his name will be announced at the Society for Medical Anthropology awards ceremony at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November.  Submissions from all anthropological sub-disciplines are encouraged.

QUALIFYING CRITERIA

  • No more than 9,000 words
  • Must be based on original fieldwork and data
  • Must have been written in the past 12 months
  • Primary or first author must be a graduate student at time of submission
  • May be unpublished or submitted for publication at the time of submission

JUDGING CRITERIA

  • Originality of fieldwork and data
  • Richness of substantive or evidentiary materials
  • Clarity of anthropological methods
  • Linkage of work to social science literature
  • Effective use of theory and data
  • Organization, quality of writing, and coherence of argument

SUBMISSION PROCESS

  • Please do not include your name or any identifying information in the paper itself.
  • Papers must be double spaced and in PDF format (please include page numbers).
  • References and in-text citations should be formatted according to Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Please submit via email to Shana Harris, Chair of ADTSG, at shana.harris@ucf.edu
  • Submissions must be received by 5:00PM EST on July 1, 2018, for full consideration.

Questions may be directed to Shana Harris at the above email address. We look forward to your submissions!

CFP: Paradigmatic Narcotics (AAA 2018)

AAA 2018 Panel Call for Papers

Paradigmatic Narcotics: Rethinking Opioids and Epidemics

Organizers: Laura Meek (UC Davis) and Mauricio Najarro (UC Berkeley/UCSF)

Discussant: Kelly Ray Knight (UCSF)

Rather than taking the notion of the “opioid epidemic” at face value, this panel will consider the relevant histories and genealogies of current epidemiological anxieties. Tracing the development of pharmacological, technoscientific, and biomedical discursive formations (Clarke et al. 2010) as well as providing new theoretical frameworks and analytics, we will engage opioids as an open question rather than a foregone and familiar conclusion. Refusing to conflate opioids with drugs in general, this panel will consider how specific chemical compositions, stigmatized social formations, and physiological effects constrain and enable the emergence and dissolution of ideologies, bodies, and biopolitical regimes.

In recent years, anthropologists have begun to question how opioids come to matter for both individuals and institutions (Garcia 2010; Garcia 2014; Knight 2015; Meyers 2013; Lovell 2013). Such anthropological obsessions with opioids, as well as the meditized moral panics of the biomedicalized and racialized War on Drugs (Hansen 2015; Netherland and Hansen 2016), have provided invaluable contributions to the field while at the same time calling for news ways of engaging with epidemiological reasoning (Seeberg and Meinert 2015). At stake in such research, of course, are broader questions of individual autonomy, necropolitics (Mbembe 2003), and narcopolitics (Garriott 2011).

As in the case of other kinds of highly mediatized epidemics studied in anthropology (Epstein 1998; Briggs and Mantini-Briggs 2003; Briggs and Hallin 2016), understanding the contemporary opioid epidemic in the United States and other parts of the world requires anthropologists to consider how journalists, researchers, physicians, and public health authorities collaborate and construct durable notions of addiction, harm, pain, and pleasure. Considering the affective, material, and symbolic registers of opioids and their antagonists as well as recent trends in anthropology and STS (Pine 2016; Sunder Rajan 2017; Murphy 2017), the panel will consider how opioids transform the topographies and temporalities of social worlds using conceptual tools adequate to the task of understanding the coproduction of subjects and objects (Jasanoff 2004). We will direct critical attention to the ways that some narratives and voices emerge and predominate while others are erased (Briggs and Mantini-Briggs 2003; Briggs and Hallin 2016) in the fraught nexus of race, death, and desire (Ronell 2004) that characterizes engagements with opioids. News coverage of the opioid epidemic across media outlets in recent years—subsequently posted and disseminated widely across social media platforms—has consistently foregrounded certain interests, grievances, and demands at the expense of others. These interests, grievances and demands have served to frame the relevant data and ground the increasingly urgent statements issued by the CDC and Surgeon General in regards to the opioid epidemic. Our panel seeks to scrutinize how such substances mobilize new ways of being, living, and dying in the world while attending to the asymmetrical power relations, genealogies, and histories that frame the political urgency and expediency of an emergency or epidemic.

We invite interested panelists to submit a paper title, abstract (250 words max), current affiliation and contact info to Mauricio Najarro (mauriciojnajarro@berkeley.edu) and Laura Meek (lameek@ucdavis.edu) by April 14, 2018 at 5pm PDT. Decisions about acceptance of abstracts for these panels will be emailed by April 15, 2018.

Book Chapter CFP: Opioid Aesthetics

Opioid Aesthetics: Expressive Culture in an Age of Addiction

The New York Times has called the opioid epidemic “the deadliest drug crisis in American history.” Claiming the lives of thousands of Americans each year, the opioid epidemic has been the subject of extensive public policy debate and legislative action at the local, state, and federal levels, and it has been cited as a leading factor in the decreasing mental, physical, and economic health of people throughout the United States and Canada. Every day, in this epidemic-in-progress, families are losing loved ones, communities are becoming divided over how best to address the crisis, and people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and generations are being affected.

Edited by Travis Stimeling (associate professor of musicology, West Virginia University) and published by West Virginia University Press, Opioid Aesthetics: Expressive Culture in an Age of Addiction will shed new light on the opioid epidemic by engaging meaningfully with the expressive culture that is emerging from this ongoing crisis. In particular, this edited collection calls upon a multidisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners to consider the ways that people have mobilized their creativity to offer insights into the effects of the opioid crisis. Opioid Aesthetics seeks to consider the ways in which this national addiction to a drug class that promotes anesthesia might also be seen to have aesthetic impacts, as well. Through this work, then, we hope to provide new ways of considering the opioid epidemic and its impacts in the hopes that a more aesthetically engaged understanding of it might lead to short- and long-term solutions to bring it to an end.

We invite scholars working in a variety of humanistic disciplines, including, but not limited to literary studies, folklore, film and media studies, cultural anthropology, musicology and ethnomusicology, art history, and the history of theater, to participate in this project. Moreover, essays will be solicited with a careful attention to the geographic, socioeconomic, racial, gender, and sexual diversity of topics and contributors alike in the hope of providing as vibrant a conversation about these issues as possible.

Interested scholars should submit a 500-word abstract and current CV to travis.stimeling@mail.wvu.edu by June 1, 2018. Completed essays of no more than 7500 words will be due by March 1, 2019.

Drug Panels at 2018 SfAAs

We are just two weeks away from the 2018 Society for Applied Anthropology annual conference in Philadelphia!

There are several panels, papers, posters, and events about alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and related topics!  Below is a list of presentations and activities that will be of interest to ADTSG members, many of which involve our members.  And don’t forget to come to the ADTSG Business Meeting on Thursday, April 5 at 8:00!

Tuesday, April 3

4:00pm – 5:30pm (Regency C2)

  • Roundtable: Alternative Approaches to Combating the Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia Through Approaches to Harm Reduction: Medical Supervision of Use and Needle Exchange Programs

Wednesday, April 4

10:00am – 10:15am (Commonwealth B)

  • Paper: Contextualizing Problem Drinking in the Bhutanese/Nepali Community in Northeast Ohio (Presenters: Marnie Watson, Nuha Alshabani, and Scott Swiatek)

10:15am – 10:30am (Washington A)

  • Paper: Narco-Cultura in Mexico: The Emergence of a Narco-Language and How Drug Traffickers Created Their Own Dictionary (Presenter: Gabriel Ferreyra)

10:45am – 11:00am (Anthony)

  • Paper: Creating a Sustainable Future of Recovery: One Campus at a Time (Presenters: Katheryn Rodriguez and Ann Cheney)

12:00pm – 12:15pm (Regency C2)

  • Paper: Naandwe Miikan (The Curing Path): An Indigenous Holistic Model Addressing Opioid Addictions and Recovery (Presenters: Darrel Manitowabi, Marion Maar, and Tim Ominika)

12:15pm – 12:30pm (Regency C2)

  • Paper: Traditional and Non-Pharmacologic Treatment Options for Chronic Pain and Opioid Overdose: Progress Update on the Inspire Project (Presenters: Emery Eaves, Cora M. Phillips, and Julie A. Baldwin)

12:30pm – 12:45pm (Regency C1)

  • Paper: Perspectives of Community Researchers on Moral and Ethical Dilemmas in Their Participation in Addiction Research (Presenters: Leslie Alexander, Gala True, and Celia B. Fisher)

1:30pm – 1:45pm (Regency C1)

  • Paper: New Drug Policy and Why We Must Sustain It (Presenter: J. Bryan Page)

Thursday, April 5

8:00am – 9:50am (Jefferson)

  • ADTSG Business Meeting

1:30pm – 2:30pm (Commonwealth B)

  • Panel: Suburban Opioid and Heroin Use

2:30pm – 2:45pm (Commonwealth D)

  • Paper: Blending Ethnographic and Algorithmic Complexity: Applying Agent-based Modeling to the Opioid Epidemic (Presenter: Lee Hoffer)

3:00pm – 5:20pm (Millennium Hall)

Poster: Freshman Women’s Perceptions of Drinking (Presenter: Katrina Shoemaker)

Poster: Social Impact Assessment for Tobacco Policy on a College Campus (Presenters: Haley Farrie, Kelly Conaway, and Mark O’Grady)

4:30pm – 4:45pm (Commonwealth D)

Paper: Transformations in Drug Research and Applied Anthropology: Trailblazing with Mike Agar (Alfred Pach)

6:00pm – 6:15pm (Regency C2)

Paper: Evolving Epidemiology: Perceptions of Stigma and Access to Care in Acute Opioid Crisis (Presenters: Heather Henderson and Jason Wilson)

Friday, April 6

8:00am – 9:50am (Regency A)

Panel: (Re)Making Drug Use, Addiction, and Recovery Online, Part I: Scientific Drug Use and Addiction Concepts in Virtual Social Spaces

10:00am – 11:50am (Regency A)

Panel: (Re)Making Drug Use, Addiction, Recovery Online, Part II: Inter-subjectivity and Social Belonging in Virtual Social Spaces

1:30pm – 3:20pm (Regency C2)

Panel: Drug, Alcohol, and Tobacco Use

1:45pm – 2:00pm (Franklin)

Paper: Consensus and Contention in Cultural Models of Substance Use/Misuse in the US and Brazil (Presenter: Nicole Henderson)

AAA 2018 Conference Student Travel Awards

Graduate Student Travel Awards

The Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) offers conference travel support to five SMA graduate students, who have had abstracts accepted to the annual meeting of the AAA. The awards will be given out at the SMA Business Meeting during the AAA meeting in the form of $500 checks. Eligibility is restricted to student members of the SMA, who are presenting papers or posters at the AAA meeting. Applications should include the following:

1. Proof of current SMA student membership.
2. Copy of the conference abstract.
3. Proof of acceptance of the abstract.
4. Recommendation letter from an advisor (directly sent by the recommender as an email attachment to roedlach@creighton.edu)

Awards will be evaluated based on significance, innovation, and clarity of the submitted abstract, as well as the strength of the letter of support from the advisor, who should discuss the significance of the to-be-presented work. If students applying for this award co-author their poster or paper abstract with a faculty or professional anthropologist, a higher standard is expected. If students are co-authoring a poster or paper with another student, then the single award will be split between the two, should the abstract be selected. Applicants are advised to compile supporting materials 1-3 in a single file and save it in PDF format. They are instructed to email these materials and any direct inquiries to the SMA Student Travel Award committee at roedlach@creighton.edu . The deadline for submissions is on September 24. Awardees will be notified by October 2.

Undergraduate Student Travel Award

The SMA offers conference travel support to one undergraduate student. The award will be given out at the SMA Business Meeting during the AAA meeting in the form of a $500 check. Eligibility is not restricted to SMA members and there is no conference participation requirement. This award is designed for students who are facing personal or institutional challenges to funding travel to conferences. Applications should include the following:

1. A one-page, single-spaced personal statement saved in a PDF format, outlining the purpose for applying for receiving this award.
2. Recommendation letter from an advisor (directly submitted by the recommender as an email attachment and preferably in PDF format). This letter should justify need.

Applicants and letter-writers may email their statements/letters and any direct inquiries to the SMA Student Travel Award committee at roedlach@creighton.edu . The deadline for submissions is on September 24. Awardees will be notified by October 2.

CFP: Questioning Addiction and Contextualizing Treatment (AAA 2018)

AAA 2018 Panel Call for Papers

Panel Title: Questioning Addiction and Contextualizing Treatment

Organizers: Paul Christensen (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) and Aleksandra Bartoszko (Oslo Metropolitan University)

Discussant: China Scherz (University of Virginia)

Panel abstract: Addiction, recovery, and treatment are contested cultural categories influenced by widespread medical dictates, political constraints, and local moral economies. These include popular, biomedical, and religious conceptions of vice and morality, appropriate behavior, and ways of living. In these papers, we examine how addiction and treatment concepts are adapted or resisted in ethnographic contexts from Japan and The United States to Norway and México. We scrutinize treatment as a cultural and social institution that represents the morally preferred solution to drug use and addiction. We consider how regimens for addiction recovery programs often framed as comprehensive and unerring if worked with the proper commitment, burden individuals who struggle to follow them in diverse contexts. These programs often maintain, deepen, and/or eradicate realities that they purport to address (such as social inequalities, stigma, or overdose) by instead deflecting criticism of their functioning onto the individuals who struggle to realize institutionally dictated criteria of success and recovery.

Simultaneously we ask: Can we imagine any other forms of inclusion for people with addiction other than making them patients/ providing them treatment? Focusing on individuals’ engagements with institutional standards and principles, as well as institutional responses to failures, we ask what is at stake for the actors involved in private and state treatment and rehabilitation industries. This panel explores the struggles of the global and local addiction treatment programs in maintaining authority or achieving their goals sometimes to the detriment of the local contexts or the lived experiences of the individuals involved. We highlight the voices and subjectivities of individuals who have been labeled as addicts or patients; we explore how they navigate their daily existence adapting, refusing, or changing these, and other, categories. Our panel underlines the ambitions and significance of ethnographic approach to improve both the ways of global and local management of addiction.

We invite interested panelists to submit an abstract (250 words max) and current affiliation to Aleksandra Bartoszko (aleksandra.bartoszko@hioa.no) and Paul Christensen (christen@rose-hulman.edu) by April 1, 2018. Presenters will be notified of selection by April 4, 2018.