1st Edition

Habitus and Drug Using Environments Health, Place and Lived-Experience

By Stephen Parkin Copyright 2013

    Informed by the thought of Pierre Bourdieu and framed by the philosophy of harm reduction, Habitus and Drug Using Environments provides a sociological analysis of public environments affected by injecting drug use. Drawing on ethnographic research across several locations, this book offers a qualitative and phenomenological account of the social organisation of public settings used for the preparation and administration of illicit drugs, informed by interviews with both injecting drug users and those whose employment is directly affected by public injecting drug use. With attention to current policy-related questions concerning the lived experience of ’place’ upon the health of injecting drug users, how wider social structures contribute to participation in public injecting and the manner in which participation in public injecting amplifies drug-related harm, Habitus and Drug Using Environments sheds light on the ways in which health and place interact to produce and reproduce already established hazards associated with injecting drug use. As such, it will be of interest to sociologists, geographers, criminologists and policy makers working in fields such as drug use, risk behaviours and their relation to place, and health studies.

    1: Drug Using Environments; 2: Structure and Agency; 3: Considering Bourdieu; 4: Methodology and Method; 5: Field; 6: The Doxic Attitude of Public Injecting: Habitus and Capital; 7: Struggle: Control and Resistance; 8: Harm and Hazard: The Illusio of the Public Injecting Habitus; 9: Producing Habitus: The Embodiment of Public Injecting Observed; 10: Habitus and Drug Using Environments: Health, Place and Lived-Experience


    Stephen Parkin is a qualitative researcher at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Services, University of Oxford, UK and author of An Applied Visual Sociology: Picturing Harm Reduction.

    ’Parkin's detailed ethnographies provide a glimpse of the renewal of drug policy in an age of entrenched economic and social inequality. This literate book confirms that a more radical vision of place is central to this task. Engaging throughout, Parkin reveals much of the everyday experience of injection drug use, and the urgency of renewed efforts to reduce the harms associated with it.’ Cameron Duff, Monash University, Australia ’In this thought-provoking text, Parkin displays a sophisticated understanding of social theory, in-depth knowledge of the harm reduction literature and a refined appreciation of qualitative methodology. Furthermore, he has generated a fascinating dataset on drug injecting in public places which is meticulously analysed with reference to the theories and constructs of Pierre Bourdieu. The result is a unique contribution to public health sociology.’ Joanne Neale, Oxford Brookes University, UK '... an important book. Research within this tradition has tended to either emphasize the perspective of ’the system’ (the dominant approach) or the perspective of the drug users (naturalistic ethnography). Parkin manages to balance these two and offers a comprehensive picture of the population of street-based injecting drug users, their drug scenes and the society that surrounds them. Few contemporary studies can match the magnitude of data presented. It also offers a much welcome theoretical approach to the street drug literature and an illuminating introduction of space to Bourdieu’s theoretical universe.' British Journal of Criminology 'This empirically rich and theoretically situated work will appeal to a range of audiences. It is a useful introduction to harm reduction and public injecting practices for undergraduate students and an excellent example of both qualitative and ethnographic work for postgraduates. It will also be of interest to scholars with an interest in Bourdieu’s work, spatial analyses of drug use and e