1981
Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2634-4726
  • E-ISSN: 2206-5857

Abstract

Fifty-one years ago the UK government passed the Misuse of Drugs Act, establishing the three-tier drugs classification system that remains largely unchanged to this day. Since that time, representations of drugs and drug users in the media have fuelled (if not entirely fabricated) moral panics to which political actors are happy to respond, rather than engaging with more evidence-based yet publicly controversial solutions. The result is a link between drug policy and media representation that is characterized by ‘moral panic’ public outrage and knee-jerk government responses that are resistant to scientific evidence and the testimony of drug users. This article focuses on the ways in which some filmmakers have developed practices that aim to undermine the dominant hegemonic representation of drugs and drug users through airing discourses that are grounded in harm reduction, rather than criminality. We highlight the ways in which harm reduction discourses can be represented to verify and justify normalized policy positions centred on crime and punishment, or can be promoted through a selection of pedagogical filmmaking strategies that facilitate the testimony of drug users. We argue that certain filmmaking strategies confer possibilities for breaking the link between harmful drugs policy and simplified media representations of drugs and drug users.

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2022-04-01
2023-02-07
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): criminality; drugs policy; film; harm reduction; pedagogy; representation
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