Special Issue: Drug places between knowledge and representations

Drugs and Alcohol Today: Volume 21 Issue 3
Guest Editors: Mélina Germes, Bernd Werse & Marie Jauffret-Roustide

See table of contents below

“The aim of this special issue is to focus on the spatiality of drug practices and policies,
to question how practices and policies are spatialised and how common perceptions
of social space influence social practices and associated meanings of particular drug
places. By drug places, we mean places characterised by the consumption of
psychoactive substances. However, drug use by itself is not sufficient to characterise
a drug place: it requires some other factors and actors such as public, media and
political discourses; the intervention and action of drug policy stakeholders like
prevention and harm reduction services, municipalities, police; the organisation of
residents’ initiatives; the underground, (sub)cultural knowledge or hearsay narratives
specific to certain groups and the emotional atmospheres et al. So, drug places might
be public, private, semi-public or institutional spaces; they might be geo-localised
areas, as well as imaginary or digital spaces; they might be very mobile and changing
or persistent over decades. Drug places are neither determined by their urbanistic
design or localisation nor by their social characteristics. Drug places emerge as the
result of complex social production, as they are populated by people who use drugs,
residents, professionals and workers, intertwined with health and public safety issues,
appropriate for many uses, designed and managed by public and private landlords.
Their history, the power relationship they are into, their configuration, the manner in
which they are named, their localisation and the scales they are embedded in all
matter as follows: all this contributes to their construction, at a specific moment, in a
particular configuration, as a drug place. With the notion of drug places, we don’t
mean that there would exist places per se related or dedicated to drug practices. The
intent of this special issue is to show how drug places are socially constructed, why
and how actors interact with these constructions. Therefore, the question raised by the
notion of “drug place” is not the one of the localisation of (public) places where people
do drugs (no matter if this refers to open drug scenes, alcohol-related nightlife settings
or other places), usually referred to as places that require public intervention by
political actors and public attention by media.”