Injecting Bodies in More-than-Human Worlds: ediating Drug-Body-World Relations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Injecting Bodies in More-than-Human Worlds

ediating Drug-Body-World Relations, 1st Edition

By Fay Dennis


264 pages

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Hardback: 9781138609556
pub: 2019-03-26
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Drug use is widely understood in terms on its subjects, substances and settings. But what happens when these distinctions start to blur?

Injecting Bodies in More-than-Human Worlds moves away from the ‘materiality’ of drug use and non-human matter and offers unique and fresh insights into the world of injecting drugs. Focusing on the Deleuzian-Spinozian notion of bodies-in-process, Dennis proposes a new and timely approach to drug use whereby bodies are conceptualized in relation to others - human and not - as something we do, as opposed to something we have. Using rich, ethnographic data to demonstrate their in/capacities to act through this relationality, Dennis carefully maps out where these bodies are thought, practiced, lived and intervened-with; caught in tension between pleasure and addiction, activity and passivity; ‘becoming-other’ and ‘becoming-blocked’; and making and breaking habits.

Arguing for deeper engagement both with how bodies are enacted and our collective role in combining them in healthier ways, this volume is a unique intervention into the sociology of drugs and, more widely, health and illness. It will appeal to students and researchers interested in fields such as Science and Technology Studies, Sociology and Social Policy, Drugs and Addiction, and Health and Medical Anthropology.


How should drugs, pleasures, harms and problems be interrogated in the more-than-human worlds of affects, signs, technologies and bodies that dominate contemporary life in the anthropocene? Dennis’ timely new book leads the reader through these worlds, abandoning the verities of subjectivity, control and rationality in favour of a far more mysterious account of assemblages, affects and pleasures, health and becoming. The result is a powerful new vision of social science, and a compelling new model of harm reduction for the more-than-human to come.

Cameron Duff, RMIT University

How do we do injecting bodies? And how can we do them better? Inventing new methods and concepts to address harm reduction from within Fay Dennis develops an alternative methodological approach to doing social scientific drugs research, thinking with drug use, and engaging drug treatment and policy. The contribution of this path breaking research lies with its capacity to bring the habits, pleasures and contexts of drug users experience into presence, so that we can learn from them and transform the lives of drug users. Injecting Bodies in More than Human Worlds breathes new life into an important area of health research that has been overshadowed by a discourse of addiction and dependency.

Nicole Vitellone, University of Liverpool

Dennis’ book makes an exciting and accessible contribution to the field of Critical Drug Studies, and should be essential reading for students and academics interested in fostering more rigorous and ethically responsible interventions and practices of knowledge-production around drug use. Bringing creative qualitative research into connection with post-structural and post-humanist concepts drawn from the work of Deleuze and Guattari and the fields of STS and New Materialisms, Dennis shows clearly the urgency and importance of developing more complex understandings of drugs, drug-using bodies, and drug-related effects.

Peta Malins, RMIT University

Table of Contents


Introduction: Drug research in more-than-human worlds

Chapter 1: Approaching bodies: ‘Becoming-with’

  1. Affect, matter, practice
  2. Becoming-with as method
  3. Rhizomatic analysis or becoming moved
  4. Ethicopolitics or doing research with care

Chapter 2: Thinking bodies: Conceptualising pleasure and not-so-pleasurable concepts

  1. Conceptualising addicted pleasure: A modern paradox
  2. Making concepts: Keeping pleasure and addiction apart
  3. Pleasure has never been free: ‘As soon as I start to think about it…’
  4. Pleasure-in-tension: ‘…It’s a really lovely feeling but my god the crap that comes with it’

Chapter 3: Practicing bodies: ‘On the tilt’: The injecting event and the fragility of pleasure among other affects

  1. ‘Keeping the glass upright’: A relational achievement
  2. Fragile connections: Directing bodies towards pleasure
  3. ‘The glass drops’: Slipping assemblages
  4. Balancing ‘the speedball’: ‘A different drug altogether’

Chapter 4: Living bodies: Vital becomings: Becoming-normal, -other and –blocked with drugs

  1. Becoming ‘normal’
  2. Becoming-other
  3. Becoming-blocked: ‘You don’t grow’

Chapter 5: Intervening-with bodies: Troubling recovery: Mediating habits and doing more than harm reduction

  1. Becoming-with drugs as habit
  2. ‘The recovery agenda’
  3. More-than-harm-reduction: Working with habits

Conclusion: Empowering bodies: Making bodies better?



About the Author

Fay Dennis is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in Social Science and Bioethics in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Sociology of Health and Illness

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General