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Unformatted text preview: What is ‘ethnography’? What Definition: Ethnography is the process of observing, recording and describing another peoples way of life (culture), through intimate describing participation in the community studied participation What is meant by ‘intimate participation’ in the community studied? studied? Ability to communicate in the local language Residence in the community Participation in everyday activities and frequent interaction with informants within the community over a long period informants Direct observation of subjects in natural settings Reliance on informal, unstructured interviews with a small number of informants informants Establishment of relationships of trust with informants What is the use of ethnographies of drug use? Do not start from the assumption that the behaviour of drug users is determined by the chemical properties of the drug determined Zinberg’s critique of ‘pharmacomythology’ According to Zinberg, the effect of a drug on an individual depends on the interaction of pharmacological, psychological and social variables: pharmacological psychological social ‘Drug’: ‘the pharmacological action of the substance itself’ ‘Set’: ‘the attitude of the person at the time of use including his personality structure’ personality ‘Setting”: ‘the influence of the physical and social setting within which the use occurs’ the Zinberg on ‘controlled drug use’ Zinberg ‘Setting’ and Social controls: ‘Ritual’: ‘stylized, prescribed behaviour surrounding the use of a drug’ ‘Sanctions’: o ‘formal laws and policies regulating drug use’ o ‘informal and often unspoken values or rules of conduct shared by a group’ by Social sanctions among illicit drug users in Perth Buy drugs from a known dealer Don’t use drugs during the week Don’t use drugs with strangers Seek advice from an experienced drug user when in doubt Consume only a small amount of a drug in case of first users, when trying a new batch of a drug or when buying from a new dealer trying (D. Moore ’Social controls, harm minimisation and interactive outreach’ (Australian J. Of Public Health 17(1), 1993.) (Australian What is the use of ethnographies of drug use? What Do not start from the assumption that drug use in itself is an expression of psychopathology or mental illness expression Are critical of the assumption that the behaviour of drug users can be understood through a clinical setting: clinical clinical samples are restricted to drug users in treatment or picked up by the legal system by clinical research, based on formal surveys, removes drugs from their social context and tells us little about the everyday life, motivations social and behaviour of drug users. and Study drug users in the natural environment through participant Study natural participant observation which enables the researcher: which To throw light on the diversity of contexts and day-to-day variability of drug use (missed on one-off interviews) of To make serendipitous discoveries of unanticipated forms of drug use and dealing and To uncover the meaning of drug use in social context To have access to ‘real’ people and their ‘lived experience’, allowing drug users to tell their own stories in their own words. By thus giving drug them a ‘voice’ anthropology humanises drug users and prevents their them demonisation demonisation ...
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