Campbell, Nancy Duff. Using Women: Gender, Drug Policy, and Social Justice. New York: Routledge, 2000. Print.
“This book recounts such gendered and sexualized meanings of women and drugs in order to show how public constructions are produced, how they circulate, especially in public policy, and the assumptions that shape them” (Campbell 1-2).
“Using Women examines how the cultural meanings of drug use affect the practices of governance, inquiring into their implications for drug policy and their effects on drug-using women’s lives” (Campbell 4).
“Policy-making proceeds as a discursive practice, but the texts and practices that emerge from it exercise material effects that shape the experience and interpretation of addiction. Yet policy-makers disclaim their own responsibility by attributing policy failures to human nature, immorality, or bad behavior on the part of the governed. By deflecting blame onto representative figures, policymakers avoid addressing the larger structures, decisions, and policies that exacerbate our multiple drug problems. Holding individuals responsible for addiction reproduces deeply held American notions of personal responsibility, risk, vulnerability, and productive citizenship. But not all individuals have the means or the capacities to discharge the responsibilities of citizenship and social reproduction. The uneven distribution of the means to realize autonomy, reduce vulnerability and violence, and carry out responsibilities is simply disregarded in drug policy. Interrogating this assumption is the basis for proposing social justice as a remedy, and is one of the goals of this book” (emphasis added, Campbell 6-7).
“Drug policy is based on policy-makers’ attempts to know the ‘truth’ of addiction. Policy is embedded in the culture that produces it, and is best seen as a cultural practice of governance. The ‘truth’ of addiction limits how stories about it must be told in the policy-making process and in drug studies. For instance, ‘drugs’ are the main vehicle of addiction narratives–they displace other explanations such as economic dislocation or cultural practices that deny agency and efficacy to many people in social contexts where drug use proliferates. Drugs, it seems, banish all other desires and fundamentally transform their users, an attribution of their omnipotence that grants substances the power to erode individual and communal particularity. The myth of pharmacological omnipotence is a culturally specific ‘truth’ inscribed in U.S. drug policy” (emhpasis added, Campbell 7).
“By reading cultural assumptions back into policy discourse, I foreground the relationship between the processes of cultural figuration and policy-making rather than denying its existence” (Campbell 7).
“Critical policy analysis ‘reads’ public policy for what it can tell us about contemporary political culture. Policy studies is a growing field of feminist scholarship that spans multiple arenas, including antipoverty policy, domestic crime control, immigration, penal policy, reproductive rights, and others. This book joins other feminist policy studies by inquiring into a specific set of obstacles to women’s full political, economic, and social autonomy and participation. Feminists occupy and ideal position from which to link illicit drug policy withe other ‘women’s’ issues such as sexual and reproductive rights and the labor struggle. While feminist approaches vary, they commonly emphasize history, rhetoric and discourse analysis, and cultural studies to a greater extent than conventional policy analysis” (emphasis added, Campbell 7).
“Critical policy analysis differs from conventional policy analysis because it examines the structures of political exclusion, social isolation, and economic marginalization. Policy analysis typically misses the cultural assumptions that I call ‘governing mentalities,’ which then exert unacknowledged effects on the policy-making process and policy outcomes” (Campbell 8).
“Policy-makers project the sense that they ‘know’ what they are doing–that their decisions are based not on fiction or fantasy but on empirical knowledge. Yet the knowledge on which they rely is inevitably the product of time and place, truth claims that are inscribed and bounded by the governing mentalities that prevail in a particular political rationality. The cultural images that ‘haunt’ knowledge claims and political positions are not generally the stuff of policy analysis, but they are my elusive object. To reach them, I rely on cultural theories of representation that result in a richer analysis more useful to developing a politics of drug policy based on an appeal to social justice” (emphasis added, Campbell 8).
“Deciding how to classify the problem and specify its sources limits the possible solutions” (Campbell 13).
“My purpose in writing this book was not to disregard the actual harm of women’s drug abuse nor to excuse irresponsible behavior in either gender. Instead, I trace how women’s drug use has been constructed as a gendered, racialized, and sexualized threat to modernity, capitalist production, social reproduction, and democratic citizenship. The figure of the female drug addict is an overdetermined condensation symbol for a wide and shifting array of cultural anxieties that are translated into public policy” (Campbell 14).
Chapter 1 – Method: “The remainder of this chapter is an analysis of an influential report… The report represents ‘mainstream’ addiction discourse at the end of the twentieth century, purporting to be a compendium of all ‘scientific’ knowledge, despite its exclusive focus on research that yielded identifiable gender differences achieved through a restricted range of research protocols. The text is replete with examples of how drug discourses reduce political claims in force and scope to an exclusive focus on women’s biological vulnerability” (Campbell 20).
Chapter 2 – “By tracing how the figures of drug use have been historically gendered, sexualized, and racialized, we can come to terms with who ‘we’ have become as a public and from there work out who ‘we’ want to be” (Campbell 33).
“Through the twin concepts of ‘discursive practice and ‘governing mentalities,’ I will analyze the parade of tropic [trope-ic] figures and the cascades of metaphors that we use to represent drug-using women in political discourse” (Campbell 33).
“Policy-makers are in the business of enrolling others in their realities–not only by way of technical reason, realism, and a staunch commitment to the ‘rationality project,’ but through persuasion. Public policy is made through a discursive negotiation between contending ideological positions, rhetorical figures, and material interests. Cultural representations and interpretations of value are as significant as postivist knowledge claims to the policy-making process. Making sense of this significance requires a conceptual framework that refuses to separate the material world from the symbolic, discursive, or narrative technologies that produce the categories and images with which we think. A feminist sociology of knowledge provides that framework, especially when joined with postpositivist policy analysis” (emphasis added, Campbell 34-5).
“This chapter centers on how ethics, images, and values enter knowledge production and the policy-making process in the form of the governing mentalities. I offer a conceptual framework for ‘reading’ public policy in order to expand the theoretical repertoire of policy studies and to extend the range of feminist theory” (Campbell 35).
“I am not arguing against ‘healthy habits’ but showing how the emphasis on personal responsibility creates an atmosphere of public surveillance and minimizes public responsibility for structural change and redistributive social policy. Postmodern Progressivism devolves to the individual and attributes too much therapeutic value to the state without expanding social provision. ‘Coercive compassion,’ like ‘compassionate conservatism’ is a mode of social regulation that is ultimately more coercive than compassionate” (Campbell 222).