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To Be and not to Be

Author(s): Morten Nissen

Journal: Outlines. Critical Practice Studies
ISSN 1399-5510

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 39;
Date: 2002;
Original page

The paper encircles the subjectivity of drug taking as one form of contemporary practice in which fundamental theoretical issues are dealt with. In particular, following Mariana Valverde's genealogy of alcohol regulation (Valverde, 1998), the question of the free will, and the paradox of the simultaneous being and non-being of the autonomous subject, are viewed as present in various approaches to drugs. The current neo-pragmatist wave substitutes low-key practical notions of habits for a dichotomy of free will or determinism. The concept of objectification promises to overcome that dichotomy by externalizing it; in terms of this concept, we can distinguish the abstract-imagined 'fix' from a genuinely transforming realization, and suggest that ours is the age of the fix, of instrumental commodities that change us in ways we do not intend. But, it is claimed, an inescapable issue of the self-dissolution of the subject remains; perhaps in the definitive shape of a suicide, or in the minor shapes of fixes such as a tactics of feigned surrender, New Age Higher Powers, or imagined communities. Determined to realize the idea of a benevolent surrender of the subject, the paper ends in an attempt to contribute to the coming to an understanding of herself and with herself of a person who finds herself at the troublesome intersection of Narcotics Anonymous and a social work development network of Copenhagen City called Wild Learning.
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