CFP – New Directions in Critical Drug Scholarship Inspired by David Moore

Call for Papers – Special Issue of Contemporary Drug Problems

Fault/Lines: New Directions in Critical Drug Scholarship Inspired by the Work of David Moore and Colleagues

Editors: Kate Seear and kylie valentine

In 2020, Professor David Moore stepped-down as Editor of the journal Contemporary Drug Problems. Throughout his career and then during his decade at the journal’s helm, David has helped oversee an explosion of more critically oriented drug scholarship, including work which challenges and destabilises taken-for-granted assumptions about the effects and putative harms of alcohol and other drugs. This work – often in collaboration with Professor Suzanne Fraser, amongst others – has helped open up new and pressing questions regarding how drugs are problematised; how the complexities of alcohol and other drug use can be attended to; how drug use might be understood as event, assemblage or phenomenon; and how drugs and their effects are constituted in various forms of practice. This work takes inspiration from numerous theoretical traditions, including feminist science and technology studies, new materialisms and post-humanism, and has brought the work of scholars such as John Law, Bruno Latour, Karen Barad and Isabelle Stengers into the drugs field. In this sense, David’s scholarship also emphasises the importance of introducing sociological, anthropological and related theories and perspectives to the drugs field, which tends to remain siloed from broader currents in social sciences.

Originally trained in anthropology, David has championed the value of ethnographic work on drugs, identifying the cultural logics of practices too often seen as ‘disordered’ or ‘chaotic’, while drawing attention to the unacknowledged assumptions and normative understandings that continue to shape research and policy in the area. He has developed these observations while covering a broad range of research areas, in terms of drugs (amphetamine-type substances including ecstasy, heroin, cannabis, alcohol, performance and image enhancing drugs), settings (youth, street-based, clubs and raves, social networks, policy, services and systems, treatment, outreach, supervised injecting facilities) and topics (injecting drug use, ‘addiction’/ ‘dependence’, overdose, sex work, hepatitis C, social theory, gender, stigma, drug markets, research funding, subcultures/scenes, identities).

Although David’s scholarship is extensive and varied, two ideas have been especially prominent and influential. The first is that although we attribute various social problems to drug use – including gendered forms of violence and other criminal behaviours – these effects are not as widespread, stable or clear-cut as we imagine. Thus, the second, related point, is that we need to rethink who and what is assigned responsibility or agency for these problems, and acknowledge that simplistic assumptions regarding fault can foreclose other ways of thinking and addressing social problems, such as violence against women. In this respect, David’s work problematises conceptualisations of ‘fault’, and the points of connection drawn between alcohol, other drugs and other social phenomena. It disrupts and challenges conventional fault/lines.

This special issue seeks to consolidate and expand critical drug scholarship of this kind, through further and more explicit engagement with the various fault/lines of contemporary drug policy, research, practice and law. We are seeking empirical and theoretical contributions which progress these ideas, including work which:

  • Identifies sites in which orthodox ways of thinking regarding drugs and drug effects remain persistent, and explores the reasons why, or how things might be otherwise;
  • Proposes radical new possibilities for rethinking causality, change, agency, responsibility or accountability within policy, law, research or practice, including through new methodologies and theoretical frameworks;
  • Examines what is at stake when fault/lines are produced and reproduced or disrupted, including through specific case studies where these lines have been challenged.

We welcome research from those working in all relevant fields, including anthropology, cultural studies, epidemiology, history, public policy, gender studies, sociology and law, and encourage the innovative use of methods, concepts and theoretical tools.

To be considered for this special issue, please send an abstract of 250-300 words to by October 30, 2020. Abstracts will be reviewed by November 30, 2020. A limited number of contributors will then be invited to submit a full paper for the special issue. If selected for the special issue, contributors must submit their full paper for peer review by Friday, April 2, 2021.