CALL FOR PAPERS – Fourth Contemporary Drug Problems Conference: 23-25 August, 2017, Helsinki, Finland

Adrian Farrugia's picture
Call for Papers
August 23, 2017 to August 25, 2017
Subject Fields: 
Health and Health Care, Public Health, Public Policy, Sociology, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Common-sense approaches to drugs and their effects usually understand them as self-evident objects that pre-exist the responses developed to address them. However, an emerging body of scholarly work in the social sciences has begun to reverse this understanding, rethinking drugs and their effects as constituted in various forms of practice. Research methods, public policies, treatment protocols and legislative processes all help produce the very phenomena they purport to address. Sometimes called the ‘ontological turn’, this conceptual shift recognises that processes of studying, treating and otherwise responding to entities such as drugs do not simply ‘map’, ‘reveal’ or ‘deal with’ them; they enact or constitute them as realities.

The insights afforded by the ontological turn offer much to the critical analysis of alcohol and other drug issues. How might these insights reshape epidemiological debates about the methods used to monitor dynamic drug markets, estimate prevalence and map trends and causes, or the ways in which data derived from these methods are interpreted? How might these insights enrich qualitative research on diagnostic instruments, treatment systems, government policies, legal processes, health promotion and popular culture?

Building on CDP’s three previous conferences, which have opened up questions of how drugs are problematised; how the complexity of drug use might be attended to and managed; and how drug use might be understood as event, assemblage or phenomenon, we now seek submissions for presentations that critically explore and debate the issues posed when we approach science, policy, treatment, law and
other practices as constituting the realities they seek to address.

We welcome research from those working in anthropology, cultural studies, epidemiology, history, public policy, sociology and related disciplines. We also encourage the innovative use of methods, concepts and theoretical tools, including but not limited to those associated with the ontological turn.

Possible topics include consideration of the realities constituted in or by:

  • Prohibition and international drug conventions
  • Mandated treatment
  • Drug courts
  • Alcohol and other drug policy
  • Education/health promotion in schools
  • and universities
  • Harm reduction services and measures
  • Neuroscientific approaches to drug effects and addiction
  • Monitoring/surveillance systems
  • Research on drug trends
  • Quantitative measures of alcohol and other drug use
  • Qualitative concepts of subjectivity, agency, affect and identity
  • Post-qualitative research methods
  • Consumer accounts and narratives of drug use,
  • addiction and recovery
  • Medical and other forms of diagnosis/assessment
  • Treatment models and practices
  • Youth and other drug services
  • Social media websites and apps
  • Popular culture enactments of drug use

Other relevant topics welcome.

Contact Info: 

Delegates are invited to submit abstracts of approximately 300 words to by 1 March, 2017.

Contact Email: