CFP: (Re)Making Drug Use, Addiction, and Recovery Online (SfAA 2018)


Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

April 3-7, 2018


(Re)Making Drug Use, Addiction, and Recovery Online

Organizer: Allison Schlosser, Case Western Reserve University Department of Anthropology

Discussant: TDB

(Il)legal drug use is now a central global concern with the stark rise in opioid use and overdose death in the U.S. and emerging worldwide. As this drug crisis has intensified, so has the proliferation of new information and communication technologies. Images and discourses on drug use and overdose death have become spectacles circulated rapidly online. Meanwhile, individuals increasingly connect online to exchange information on drug use, “addiction,” and “recovery” via platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. People buy and sell drugs, narrate drug experiences, and form recovery and advocacy groups online. How is drug use, addiction, and recovery shaped in and through these virtual social spaces? What is at stake for identities, inter-subjectivities, and socio-political inclusion as online interactions become ever more present in daily life? This panel explores these questions with an emphasis on what anthropological research attuned to the realities of lives lived on and offline can contribute to policy, health services, and advocacy efforts.

Potential paper topics include (but are not limited to):

-How online sociality shapes understandings of drug use (e.g., as “habit,” “addiction,” “dependency”) and the practical implications for policy and services.

-How new cultural practices related to drug use/addiction/recovery emerge online.

-How virtual and offline lives intersect as individuals negotiate drug use/addiction/recovery.

-Unanticipated consequences and opportunities of online drug use/addiction/recovery interactions for intervention efforts (e.g., harm reduction, advocacy, novel interventions).

-How individual and communal identities negotiated online may be novel and/or reproduce existing practices and power relations related to drug use/addiction/recovery.

-The ways social position shapes access to and engagement with drug use/addiction/recovery online groups and related ethical implications.


Please send paper abstracts of no more than 100 words to Allison Schlosser at by Friday, September 29.

Presenters will be notified of selection by October 6 and asked to register for the conference and submit their paper abstracts by October 15.