The drug dispositif: ambivalent materiality and the addiction of the global drug prohibition regime

Eva Herschinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

International relations and critical security studies are increasingly including the role of materiality in the study of security practices, inquiring into how objects act as both threat and /or endangered referent. However, objects of ‘dual-use’ – that is, objects that are not only threatening or in need of protection but also beneficial or pleasurable to the human collective – figure less prominently. Drugs are such an ambivalent matter: beneficial in the context of medicine and at the same time threatening in the context of crime. Mobilizing the concept of the dispositif, this article questions how drugs and addiction materialize in the practices of the global drug prohibition regime. I argue that the ambivalence of the material object ‘drug’ is the condition of possibility of the regime. The regime as an epitome of the ‘drug dispositif’ illustrates how ambivalent objects give rise to expanding security practices and specific power relations, highlighting how (critical) security analyses could profit from greater awareness of ambivalent matters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-201
Number of pages19
JournalSecurity Dialogue
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

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dispositif
addiction
regime
drug
ambivalence
international relations
profit
offense
medicine
threat

Keywords

  • critical security studies
  • dispositif
  • drugs
  • international relations
  • materiality
  • prohibition regime

Cite this

The drug dispositif : ambivalent materiality and the addiction of the global drug prohibition regime. / Herschinger, Eva.

In: Security Dialogue, Vol. 46, No. 2, 04.2015, p. 183-201.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "International relations and critical security studies are increasingly including the role of materiality in the study of security practices, inquiring into how objects act as both threat and /or endangered referent. However, objects of ‘dual-use’ – that is, objects that are not only threatening or in need of protection but also beneficial or pleasurable to the human collective – figure less prominently. Drugs are such an ambivalent matter: beneficial in the context of medicine and at the same time threatening in the context of crime. Mobilizing the concept of the dispositif, this article questions how drugs and addiction materialize in the practices of the global drug prohibition regime. I argue that the ambivalence of the material object ‘drug’ is the condition of possibility of the regime. The regime as an epitome of the ‘drug dispositif’ illustrates how ambivalent objects give rise to expanding security practices and specific power relations, highlighting how (critical) security analyses could profit from greater awareness of ambivalent matters.",
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