Crime, Drugs and Social Theory : A Phenomenological Approach book cover
1st Edition

Crime, Drugs and Social Theory
A Phenomenological Approach

ISBN 9781138257214
Published November 10, 2016 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Do criminal cultures generate drug use? Crime, Drugs and Social Theory critiques conventional academic and policy thinking concerning the relationship between urban deprivation, crime and drug use. Chris Allen outlines an innovative constructionist phenomenological perspective to explore these relationships in a new light. He discusses how people living in deprived urban areas develop ’natural attitudes’ towards activities, such as crime and drug use, that are prevalent in the social worlds they inhabit, and shows that this produces forms of articulation such as ’I don’t know why I take drugs’, ’I just take them’ and ’drugs come naturally to me’. He then draws on his constructionist phenomenology to help understand the ’natural attitude’ towards crime and drugs that emerge from conditions of urban deprivation, as well as the non-reasoned forms of articulation that emerge from this attitude. The book argues that understanding the conditions in which drug users deviate from their ’natural attitude’ can help effective intervention in the lives of drug users.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: on the question of being and crime; Crime, drugs and social research; Crime, drugs and social theory; Being and crime (and drugs); 'Natural attitudes' towards recreational crime and drugs; Becoming a problematic drug user; Criminological consequences of 'becoming' a problematic drug user; Confrontations with the 'soiled self'; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.

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Chris Allen is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Chris is the author of 30 articles in peer-reviewed social science journals since 1997 as well as 22 research reports, 20 articles in the national and professional media and 2 commercially published books.


’This is a fine book, which demonstrably contests the main theses of the key players in the "drugs debate. The dominant policy and academic theses, whilst different, are both, according to the author, misplaced, as they fail to appreciate the habitus of the user themselves. In particular, the author’s critique of the academic community research into this area as being located within the discipline rather than the everyday lives of the users themselves is powerful.’ Dave Cowan, University of Bristol, UK ’This is a very important and extremely well constructed study. Chris Allen utilises a thorough investigation of the field and in-depth interviews with some of the UK’s most vulnerable citizens to identify the complex and nuanced factors influencing drug use and crime in the UK. In giving a voice to subjects often silenced or assumed in contemporary debates, this book presents a powerful indictment of both current policy and academic investigation, and provides an epistemology that offers a more constructive way forward in addressing the causal factors and manifestations of social exclusion.’ John Flint, CRESR, Sheffield Hallam University, UK ’Crime, Drugs and Social Theory is a challenging and thought-provoking addition to the literature...[Allen’s] analysis of the different relationship that people have with recreational and problematic drug use is particularly interesting, as is his focus on the role that disturbing episodes and encounters play in the genesis of problematic drug and violent acquisitive crime.’ British Journal of Criminology ’This is a delightful attempt to dramatically extend the frame of reference of the drugs/crime debate by providing a holistic perspective to problematic drug use and recreational crime.’ Drugs and Alcohol Today 'I would see this text as a general and challenging starting point for understanding drug use. For those already working in the field, it would be a useful resource on the sociology behind dru