Afterword: Tensions and possibilities for a narcofeminist sociology

Dennis, Fay; Pienaar, Kiran and Rosengarten, Marsha. 2023. Afterword: Tensions and possibilities for a narcofeminist sociology. The Sociological Review, 71(4), pp. 945-954. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this piece we reflect on the tensions and complexities of drug use that narcofeminism has prompted us to grapple with in producing this collection. Narcofeminist approaches challenge us to move beyond simplistic, moralistic frameworks that pathologise and stigmatise those who use drugs, and instead seek more nuanced understandings of the social, cultural and political forces through which drug use materialises. By foregrounding the experiences of women and other marginalised groups who use drugs, narcofeminism highlights the ways in which drug consumption is always already gendered, racialised and classed. Narcofeminist approaches insist on a double vision attuned to violence and suffering as well as the possibility of alternative realities. This dual vision recognises a historical and contemporary context of dehumanisation while embracing and reclaiming new forms of humanness that challenge the figure of Enlightenment Man; it insists on the complexities of drug use that are all too often elided by singular stories of pain/pleasure and benefit/harm. Ultimately, narcofeminism challenges us to rethink our assumptions about drug use, and to recognise the voices and subjectivities of people who consume drugs, even in the face of intense hostility and oppression. By doing so, narcofeminist approaches have the potential to enrich and expand the sociological study of drug use and to contribute to drug policies that prioritise care and community over punishment and control.

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Identification Number (DOI):


drug user activism, feminisms, marginalised groups, narcofeminism, sociology of drugs

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Invention and Social Process (CISP) [2016-]


21 April 2023Accepted
1 August 2023Published Online

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Date Deposited:

08 Aug 2023 10:54

Last Modified:

08 Aug 2023 11:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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