Narrating the social relations of initiating injecting drug use: Transitions in self and society.


Rhodes, T; Bivol, S; Scutelniciuc, O; Hunt, N; Bernays, S; Busza, J; (2011) Narrating the social relations of initiating injecting drug use: Transitions in self and society. The International journal on drug policy, 22 (6). pp. 445-54. ISSN 0955-3959 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2011.07.012

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Abstract

: Few studies have explored drug injectors' accounts of their initiation of others into injecting. There also lacks research on the social relations of initiating injecting drug use in transitional society. We draw upon analyses of 42 audio-recorded semi-structured interviews with current and recent injecting drug users, conducted in 2009 in the Republic of Moldova, a transitional society of south-eastern Europe. A thematic analysis informed by narrative theory was undertaken, focusing on accounts of self-initiation and the initiation of others. We also reflect upon the potential of peer efforts to dissuade would-be injectors from initiating. Findings emphasise initiation into injecting as a symbolic identity transition, enabled through everyday social relations. In turn, our analysis locates the drug transitions of the self inside an account of societal transition. We find that personal narratives of self transition are made sense of, and presented, in relation to broader narratives of social transition and change. Furthermore, we explore how narratives of self-initiation, and especially the initiation of others, serve to negotiate initiation as a moral boundary crossing. Self-initiation is located inside an account of transitioning social values. In looking back, initiation is depicted as a feature of a historically situated aberration in normative values experienced by the 'transition generation'. Accounts of the initiation of others (which a third of our sample describe) seek to qualify the act as acceptable given the circumstances. These accounts also connect the contingency of agency with broader narratives of social condition. Lastly, the power of peers to dissuade others from initiating injection was doubted, in part because most self-initiations were accomplished as a product of agency enabled by environment as well as in the face of peer attempts to dissuade.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Population Studies (1974-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Research Centre: Population Studies Group
PubMed ID: 21903372
Web of Science ID: 298454800010
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/184

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