The rhetoric of partnerships involving people who use illicit drugs and the reality of 'partners' experience
Lucas, PV (2011) The rhetoric of partnerships involving people who use illicit drugs and the reality of 'partners' experience. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.
The rhetoric of partnerships involving people who use illicit drugs and the
reality of ‘partners’ experience.
This research examines the concept of partnerships as it applies to illicit drug policy
development and service delivery planning processes in Australia. It poses the
question: ‘How does the rhetoric of partnerships involving people who use illicit
drugs match the experience of partners?’ The research concludes that, with a few
exceptions, the concept of partnerships involving people who use illicit drugs is little
more than a rhetorical tool used by neoliberal forms of government.
The research adopts a theoretical framework of ‘governmentality’ initially developed
by Michel Foucault. A governmentality approach identifies the rationalities behind
strategies adopted to enhance the productivity of populations, as well as the various
‘technologies’ employed to achieve desired outcomes. Suggestions for augmenting a
governmentality approach for better understanding partnerships involving people who
use illicit drugs are proposed as part of this research.
The methodology comprises two components. The first involves analysis of a range of
policy documents relating to illicit drug use to trace the evolution of the concept of
partnerships with people who use illicit drugs. The second component involves indepth
interviews with members of the ‘drug policy community’, including policy
makers, service providers and members of peer-based user advocacy organisations.
The perception of those working in these ‘partnerships’ was that this neoliberal
concept fell well short of aspirations and expectations. The key factors identified by
‘partners’ that limit the success of this approach are discussed in detail. These
include: the impact of a morally conservative dominant discourse of prohibition; the
political nature of what counts as ‘evidence’ in policy development and service
delivery planning processes; and a lack of institutional support for genuine
partnerships with people who use illicit drugs from governments, policy makers and
service providers. The research also finds that the theoretical framework of governmentality is a useful
analytical tool for understanding the concept of partnerships involving people who
use illicit drugs. I argue that in order to better understand these partnerships, and the
reasons why this enterprise has had only limited success, it is important to incorporate
other theoretical perspectives alongside that of governmentality. These include: the
‘political economy of drug user scapegoating’ (Friedman, S. 1998); the medicalisation
of substance use (Freund and McGuire 1991; Szasz 1974; White 2002); and the
concept of ‘authoritarian liberalism’ (Dean 2002; Hindess 2001).
|Item Type:||Thesis (PhD)|
|Additional Information:||Copyright © the Author|
|Keywords:||illicit drugs, partnerships, sociology, governmentality|
|Deposited By:||ePrints Officer|
|Deposited On:||19 Aug 2011 12:12|
|Last Modified:||11 Dec 2012 14:23|
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