Online drug scenes and harm reduction from below as phronesis

Boothroyd, Dave and Lewis, Sarah (2016) Online drug scenes and harm reduction from below as phronesis. Contemporary Drug Problems, 43 (3). ISSN 0091-4509

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Abstract

This article presents a theoretical critique of notion of harm reduction on the basis of an empirical investigation of a variety of online manifestations of drug culture. Taking a multi-case study approach to drug use related forums, blogs and ‘story sites’ focused on NPS/’legal high’ use and non-medicinal prescription drug use, our analysis of data leads us to describe the culture of ‘harm reduction from below’ it reveals in terms the Aristotelian concept of phronesis. We argue that peer-to-peer co-creation of knowledge, sharing and support constitutes an emergent and constantly evolving form of ‘practical wisdom’ with respect to drugs. Drawing on Flyvbjerg’s (2001, 2007) accounts of phronetic social science as a practice, which proposes a permeable boundary between theoretical and practical inquiry, and Stenger’s (2005) account of the ‘collective voice from below’ as always embedded within an ‘ecology of practices’, we offer an interpretation of the online dimension of drug taking in terms of drug users’ shared aim of ‘doing drugs well’. The investigation of online life in terms of the multiple contexts of drug-related communicative exchange thus allows us to identify harm reduction from below as an ethical practice inherent to a variety of online drug scenes themselves.

Keywords:online life, harm reduction, Flyvbjerg, ethics, phronesis, NotOAChecked
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V590 Philosophy not elsewhere classified
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L370 Social Theory
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V520 Moral Philosophy
J Technologies > J900 Others in Technology
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
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ID Code:23782
Deposited On:24 Aug 2016 11:14

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