Sociology has a long-standing interest in licit and illicit drug use, particularly as a feminist concern with scholars highlighting how drugs are used as regulatory technologies to control the conduct of women and other minoritised people. This collection flips this focus to explore what drugs can do as a feminist practice. Employing the drug-user activist concept of 'narcofeminism', it rethinks how drugs are conceived in sociology and charts their role in shaping selves and worlds.
A distinctive feature of the collection is the inclusion of diverse perspectives from activists and people whose lives are intimately connected with drugs. Alongside the contributions of critical drug scholars, these accounts invite attention to the creative, life-affirming qualities of drug use that are all too easily erased by dominant approaches centered on harm and pathology. They articulate the political potential of drug use as a mode of resistance to dominant social orders. Inspired by the explicit connection between drugs, creativity and activism, we elaborate the concept of narcofeminisms suggesting that it poses radical new possibilities for rethinking drug use as a mode of living, capable of transforming social relations. Importantly, this approach acknowledges the ingrained hostilities that differentially constitute drug consumption practices. Under prohibitionist regimes, illicit drugs are treated as intrinsically harmful, particularly for marginalised subjects. Our aim in the collection is not to dismiss or underplay the complexities that are part and parcel of the illicit world of drug use, notably the suffering and struggles that pervade it, but to dramatise how counterposing tensions of drug use (harms and benefits) are navigated. Instead of treating drugs as oppressive technologies (to be emancipated from), we ask what drugs can do (to emancipate, while inviting reflection on what emancipation means).