In the Journals

In the Journals, March 2020 (Part 1)

Contemporary Drug Problems

Resilience in the Face of Victimization: A Bourdieusian Analysis of Dealing With Harms and Hurts Among Street-Involved Individuals Who Smoke Crack Cocaine

Katherine Rudzinski, Carol Strike

Victimization is a significant issue for street-involved individuals who smoke crack cocaine. Presently, there is a shortage of resilience research exploring practices that may insulate crack-smoking individuals from victimization or mitigate the effects of such experiences. Through a Bourdieusian lens, this qualitative study examines responses to victimization and the types of coping strategies utilized among (n = 30) street-involved individuals who regularly smoke crack in Southern Ontario, Canada. A resilience framework is used for analysis—a novel approach in addictions research, since drug-using individuals are generally left out of this realm of investigation. Findings show that participants mobilize their resources and capacities to “rebound” from victimization in the “street field” (Shammas & Sandberg, 2016), through various practices. These individuals rely on their own embodied competencies as well as the “street social capital” (Ilan, 2013) available to them through their networks, in order to deal with victimization. Resilience is a complex process that needs to be continually (re)constituted for participants, owing to their lack of capital and the structural limitations of the street field. In conclusion, participants display resilience through their sense of determination and ongoing agency in navigating constraints and seizing opportunities to avoid, manage, and confront chronic victimization in the street field.

“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Weed”: How Consumers in Four Different Policy Settings Define the Quality of Illicit Cannabis

Vendula Belackova

With proliferating efforts to regulate the quality of cannabis on legalized markets, and recent discussions about drug quality assessment by darknet buyers, it seems timely to explore definitions of the quality of cannabis among consumers. An inductive analysis of in-depth interviews with people who had used cannabis in the past 12 months was conducted, which focused on the respondents’ subjective definitions and assessments of the quality of cannabis. The data are drawn from convenience samples in four localities (Florida [United States], Czechia, Spain, and New South Wales [Australia]) where cannabis was illegal or decriminalized. The findings suggest that the respondents across all four localities used a range of visual and sensory indicators to assess the quality of cannabis. For many respondents, these were independent indicators of the quality of cannabis suggesting that cannabis was not merely an “experience” good. For others, visual and sensory assessments were used as indirect indicators of quality in that they represented the effect of the cannabis. The desired effect was more complex than simple potency (strength) and several respondents preferred mild and not-sedating cannabis. Across the four localities, the respondents also included “proxy” indicators of the safety of cannabis in their definitions of quality. In other words, high-quality cannabis was defined as not causing excessive intoxication or physical harm. Altogether, cannabis was a specific “credence” good when its quality was seen as a result of cultivation techniques, production location, or producers’ (profit) motivations – depending on the locality. These findings suggest that cannabis policies that regulate the cultivation process can be relevant to people who use cannabis. Given that consumers take the safety of cannabis into consideration when assessing its quality, their involvement in the development of quality standards is warranted. Consumer-led self-regulation should also be considered in policies that seek to regulate cannabis supply.

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Snakes and ladders: legal coercion, housing precarity,and home-making aspirations in southern England (Open access)

Ryan Davey

The potential for eviction is an ordinary condition of domestic life for many in Europe and North America. This poses a challenge to anthropological theories of the state’s presence in ordinary homes, which have accounted for public housing and mass displacement, but not liberalized settings where the state has ostensibly withdrawn from the home. Studies of housing precarity identify state policy and capitalist transformation among its sources, but the consequences of housing precarity for domesticity itself have not been fully explored. Private renters on a housing estate in southern England responded to the bleak prospect of eviction with home‐making pursuits that would instil a sense of optimism in their homes, including mortgage‐based ownership and immersive home entertainment technology. By examining the interplay between fears of eviction and home‐making aspirations, this article argues that the British state’s organization of legitimate coercion has a subtle but significant influence on tenants’ ethical visions of what constitutes a good home.

‘Failure in the air’: activist narratives, in‐group story‐telling, and keeping political possibility alive in Lebanon (Open access)

Fuad Musallam

Failure is often taken as an endpoint: anathema to political organizing and the death knell of social movements. To the degree that radical movements themselves dwell on failure, participants often consider the focus pathological. This article explores how, in the aftermath of the falling apart of long‐term initiatives, Lebanese political activists were able to maintain their capacity to engage in transformative action. At a time when activists felt ‘failure in the air’, narrating prior political experiences communally, in formal and informal contexts, became crucial to (re)imagining one another as activists. Such stories narrated failure to compel collective action in the future, making failure itself a political resource; not the end, but a beginning. Throughout, this article engages in an affirmative anthropology that keeps alive the costs of failure even as it shows how radical political actors generate their capacity to act and their potential to imagine otherwise.

Facilitated personhood (Open access)

Matthew Wolf‐Meyer

Anthropological models of personhood suggest that the individual is produced through relational ties to others, including humans and nonhumans. American ideas about the individual are deeply ideological, obscuring the human relations that make ‘personhood’ a possible, desirable concept that motivates subjection. Attending to neurological disorders and the technologies that attempt to remedy communication impairments shows that not only is the labour of other humans obscured in producing the individual, but so are the facilitating capacities of technologies and institutions. This article focuses on memoirs of disability and ethnographic and historiographic research on neuroscience to show how personhood is facilitated and produced through engagements with people, technologies, and institutions that attempt to render particular forms of subjection through communicative practices.

Society and Mental Health

Revisiting the Cost of Skin Color: Discrimination, Mastery, and Mental Health among Black Adolescents

Patricia Louie

This article investigates the association between skin tone and mental health in a nationally representative sample of black adolescents. The mediating influences of discrimination and mastery in the skin tone–mental health relationship also are considered. Findings indicate that black adolescents with the darkest skin tone have higher levels of depressive symptoms than their lighter skin tone peers. This is not the case for mental disorder. For disorder, a skin tone difference appeared only between black adolescents with very dark skin tone and black adolescents with medium brown skin tone. Discrimination partially mediates the association between skin tone and depression, while mastery fully mediates this association, indicating that the impact of skin tone on depression operates primarily through lower mastery. Similar patterns were observed for disorder. By extending the discussion of skin tone and health to black adolescents and treating skin tone as a set of categories rather than a linear gradient, I provide new insights into the patterning of skin tone and depression/disorder.

Extending the Minority Stress Model to Understand Mental Health Problems Experienced by the Autistic Population

Monique Botha, David M. Frost

Research into autism and mental health has traditionally associated poor mental health and autism as inevitably linked. Other possible explanations for mental health problems among autistic populations have received little attention. As evidenced by the minority disability movement, autism is increasingly being considered part of the identities of autistic people. Autistic individuals thus constitute an identity-based minority and may be exposed to excess social stress as a result of disadvantaged and stigmatized social status. The authors test the utility of the minority stress model as an explanation for the experience of mental health problems within a sample of high-functioning autistic individuals (n = 111). Minority stressors including everyday discrimination, internalized stigma, and concealment significantly predicted poorer mental health, despite controlling for general stress exposure. These results indicate the potential utility of minority stress in explaining increased mental health problems in autistic populations. Implications for research and clinical applications are discussed.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *