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Our narcotic modernity

Social work professor authors book on addiction, modernity and the city

Research | Books at Memorial

Addiction, Modernity, and the City: A Users’ Guide to Urban Space examines the interdependent nature of substance, space and subjectivity, and is an interdisciplinary analysis of the intoxication indigenous to what has been termed “our narcotic modernity.”

The book is authored by Dr. Christopher Smith, an assistant professor at Memorial’s School of Social Work.

The first section—Drug/Culture—demonstrates how the body of the addict and the social body of the city are both inscribed by “controlled” substance. Positing addiction as a “pathology (out) of place” that is specific to the (late-)capitalist urban landscape.

The second section—Dope/Sick—conducts a critique of the prevailing pathology paradigm of addiction, proposing in its place a theoretical reconceptualization of drug dependence in the terms of “p/re/in-scription.”

The third section—Narco/State—remaps the successive stages or phases of our narcotic modernity, and delineates three primary eras of narcotic modernity, including the contemporary city of “safe”/”supervised” consumption.

The fourth section—Brain/Disease—employs an experimental “intra-textual” format and mimics the sense, state or scape of intoxication accompanying each permutation of narcotic modernity in the interchangeable terms of drug, dream and/or disease.

Tracing the parallel evolution of “addiction,” the (late-)capitalist cityscape, and the pathological project of modernity, the four parts of this book together constitute a users’ guide to urban space.

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