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[ARTICLE] Criminality v. Addiction - Penumbrae of Anti-Drug Normativity (accepted version).pdf (786.74 kB)

Between criminality and addiction: multiple penumbrae of global anti-drug normativity

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 03:36 authored by Po-Han Lee
The global War on Drugs has successfully constructed the ‘anti-drug normativity’ in international law and domestic policies. Lately, drug problems and related law enforcement provoke controversies both in Taiwan and the Philippines – from the extreme of ‘taking drug users’ lives’ to the other of ‘helping them back to normal life’. However, what count for ‘death’ and ‘abnormality’ has seldom been probed. Also, is that a drug-free – and then all-substance-free – world really desirable? Were there penumbrae for the unwanted ‘ghosts’ to live behind and beyond the lights? In an pharmacopornographic era, this paper queries: is there something missing between normativity and non-normativity – so as to the matter of life and death? Inspired by some post-drug users, I conducted an analysis of the statements given by the governing – the ruling class who owns power to manage regulation, knowledge and capital. I argue that the discourses of criminality (felony punishment) and addition (harm reduction) have both reduced the contexts and reasons of different drug users into a good-bad citizen bifurcation. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s distinction of vital and deadly experimentation – along with the Apollonian-Dionysian dichotomy – in this paper I conclude that we need a non-reducible understanding of drug-using experiences that better serves both criminal and health policies in an open-ended society of global control.


Publication status

  • Published

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  • Accepted version


Cultural Studies Quarterly




Cultural Studies Association of Taiwan



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  • Law Publications

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  • Sussex Rights and Justice Research Centre Publications

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