Changing cultural forms and framings of participation: the artifacts, bodies and texts of addiction

The cultural practices that construct drug addiction in Denmark are changing radically. The number of persons in treatment for drug addiction soared from 4.407 to 12.317 between 1996 and 2004. The increase is largely due to the phenomenon of "young cannabis addicts". While habitual cannabis use and misuse was certainly known before, it is only lately that it is being taken seriously as a diagnosable and treatable entity. Thus, we witness the emergence of cannabis addiction as a bona fide socio-psycho-somatic condition in need of treatment. Unlike many social problems, the cultural form of cannabis addiction is as international as that of various methods of counseling, and currently, national and European standards for the treatment of drug misusers are negotiated, so that treatment and counseling practices can be monitored and potentially evidence-based.

The discipline meaning both a certain body of knowledge and the cultivation of bodies according to that knowledge which here materializes is full of contradictions. Some of these may be highlighted if we view disciplines as cultural forms that frame participation and thus mediate subjectivities, from the craving of the addict to the constitution of experts and institutional communities.