The Twin Dangers of Order and Disorder: Rethinking the Relationship Between Movement and Change in Drug Treatment

Mads Bank*, Morten Nissen, Steven H. Brown


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In this article, we propose that the perpetual difficulties in drug treatment can be understood as a consequence of how a binary opposition of order and disorder continues to structure drug discourses and treatment practices. When drug use is seen as a disorder of addiction, recovery becomes reduced to movements between fixed points benchmarked against preexisting standards. This obscures how recovery could be understood as a process of self-differentiation where subjects develop new norms to adapt to changing life circumstances. In the article we draw on empirical material from a Copenhagen drug-treatment facility for young drug users, to analyze how change and development can be facilitated through a fundamental institutional “movability.” Drawing on the philosophy of change of Henri Bergson, the assemblage approach of Deleuze and Guattari, and the aesthetic theory of Jacques Rancière, we analyze how a particular assemblage of discourses, the organization of treatment and aesthetic spaces disrupt existing orders and open for different possibilities for participation and development for young drug users. In particular, we turn the attention to how aesthetic spaces and sensuous processes can counter stigmatization by overcoming the frame of “treatment” and the affective experiences associated with the categorization as a “drug-user” and facilitating the development of care as new ways of becoming and being-together.
TidsskriftContemporary Drug Problems
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)491-506
StatusUdgivet - 2023


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