Cultural Competence to Cultural Obsolescence: Drug Use, Stigma and Consumerism

Ayres, Tammy and Taylor, Stuart (2022). Cultural Competence to Cultural Obsolescence: Drug Use, Stigma and Consumerism. In: Addison, Michelle; McGovern, William and McGovern, Ruth eds. Drugs, Identity and Stigma. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 197–220.



Using the concept of the drug apartheid, this chapter explores how, within an epoch of neoliberal consumer capitalism, a hierarchy of substance use exists; with the righteous consumption of licit drugs inferring cultural competence and effective citizenship whilst inappropriate drug use infers cultural obsolescence, the failure of users to abide by neoliberal notions of responsible consumption and play a productive role in society. In doing so, we argue that it is only through a consideration of the position and outcomes of all drug consumption within the ever-evolving context of consumerism, that we can fully locate the historical and contemporary existence, application and consequences of stigmatisation and illustrate the purposeful role this serves in ensuring the smooth order of the socio-economic status quo.

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