CFP – “Ontopolitics” of Drugs and Drug Policies


Call for Papers – Special Section of the International Journal of Drug Policy

The “Ontopolitics” of Drugs and Drug Policies

Guest Editors: Cameron Duff and Tim Rhodes

There are shifts within the field of drugs research and drug policy towards investigating evidence and intervention as matters of ontology. This encourages an approach to evidence, and what counts as evidence, in discussions of drugs and drug policy that moves beyond mere methodological and epistemological concerns to consider how various knowledge-making practices bring drugs and drug policies into being. The focus is on how evidence and intervention are performed in relation to material practices, of which research and science are part. Such practice-oriented approaches have challenged presumptions of separation between the material and the social, nature and society, and evidence and practice, instead envisaging these entangled as effects of ‘actor-networks’ (Latour, 2005; Law, 2009; Michael, 2017) and ‘assemblages’ (Duff, 2014; Delanda, 2016; Andrews and Duff, 2019). There is a growing track record within the field of drugs research and drug policy which investigates how drug-related realities are not fixed and stable but emergent and contingent, that is, made-up in situated material practices (for example: Gomart, 2002; Malins, 2004; Fraser and Moore, 2011; Fraser, Moore and Keane, 2014; Moore and Fraser, 2013; Duff, 2014; Dennis, 2019; Lancaster, 2016; Vitellone, 2017; Race, 2018; Rhodes, 2018; Rhodes and Lancaster, 2019; Rhodes et al., 2019). This journal has contributed to this body of work (for example: Fraser, 2013, 2017; Dilkes-Frayne et al., 2017; Dennis, 2017; Malins, 2017; Hart, 2018; Duff, 2011, 2016, 2018; Rhodes et al., 2016).

Importantly, a turn towards ontologically oriented approaches concentrates attention on the ontopolitical effects of drugs, drug policies and drugs research. If the realities of drugs and drug-related interventions are situated in material practices, then they are also open to being done differently. In an ontological approach to research, we can consider how evidence and intervention constitutes realities in particular ways, with particular social and material effects. These are ontopolitical questions which invite us to ask of research not only how knowledge is performed but also what the political effects of different knowledge enactments might be (Mol, 1999, 2002).

With these themes in mind, we invite contributions for a cluster of papers on the ontopolitics of drugs research and drug policy. We are interested in exploring how realities are constituted through the knowledge-making practices of drugs research and intervention, and how drugs research might proceed when viewed as an ontological concern. We are interested in the following types of papers: review; commentary; original research; and short responses.

Full papers should be submitted to the journal by December 1, 2019.

When submitting, please indicate that your paper is for consideration as part of the special section on ‘ontopolitics’ from the drop-down menu under ‘article type’.

All manuscripts will be subject to the usual peer review process.