Surveillance, substance misuse and the drug use industry

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A hermeneutical narrative will be used in this chapter to enable both a critical appreciation of the dynamics of the drug use industry in ultramodern1 democracies and also solutions to its inherent and real institutional violence. A hermeneutical narrative ‘seeks to bring new resources to our criminological perspective through occupying liminal spaces … and seek(s) to engage with diverse thinkers and traditions who have the potential to offer significant insights to criminology and the practices of justice’ (Pycroft & Bartollas, 2018, p. 234). In particular, an examination of the relationship between the practices of justice and theology will provide a focus of suspicion. This approach will reveal that the ultramodern rationalizations that enshrine the utilitarian calculus and the forms that they take in the technologies of new public management, (e.g. outcome monitoring, drug testing and risk profiling2) that pre-criminalize drug users are theological in nature and an ultramodern concealment of sacred scapegoat mechanisms that arise from our anthropological heritage. The rationality of these mechanisms effectively ‘lock in’ the punitive practices that are ontotheological in nature but hidden in plain sight and that justify transcendental violence through the metaphysics argued to be foundational to social order. The hermeneutical narrative, as unconcealment (aleithia) will seek to apprehend the ding an sich (‘the thing in itself’3) of institutional violence that is locked in to the criminal justice system. With respect to the drug use industry, our critical suspicion is enabled through arguing for recovery as an example of the non-places that have come to define super modernity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Pre-Crime Society
Subtitle of host publicationCrime, Culture and Control in the Ultramodern Age
EditorsBruce Arrigo, Brian Sellers
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherBristol University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781529205268, 9781529205275
ISBN (Print)9781529205251
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2021

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