Nancy Campbell, RPI
Few objects and subjects of knowledge present the embedded dilemmas of nationalism and colonialism than do “drugs,” which have typically been extracted from plant-based materials grown in the global South, yet refined, distributed, and consumed in the global North. Yet “drugs” and drug crises are readily invoked as justifications for authoritarian policing and incarceration. A global circuitry has been held in place by a drug policy regime heavily influenced by the US and the UK for more than a century. In order to counter the impoverished knowledge base, those who study drugs—both licit and illicit—have more recently cultivated a flourishing interdisciplinary knowledge formation. This paper examines what might be called the growth of “critical drug studies” by tracing the conceptual dilemmas and methodological openings encountered in such scholarship for STS scholars and practitioners.
Abstract submitted to 4S 2020 open panel on Transnational STS