Derrida and drugs


Authors
Tim Gough
Kingston University
Abstract
Derrida, in the interview Rhetoric of Drugs (1993), following on from the explication of the notion of pharmakon (both poison and beneficial drug, at the same time), outlines a possible “theory” of drugs and addiction. It has several key features: • there are no drugs in nature: the definition of “drug” is an institutionalised one • the concept of drugs is non-scientific, non-positive • drugs are a parasitism “at once accidental and essential”; and are thus a topic to which deconstruction, as a parasitical discourse (both in topic and in its nature), pays attention This paper will discuss how this “theory” of drugs can cast light on the nature of addiction and obsession. In pointing to the paradoxical and so-far self-defeating attempts to control drug use, supply, and the obsessions which feed of this, we will call into question whether a politics of representation can ever adequately address the problems raised by drug prohibition or whether indeed such problems need to be framed in a non-representational manner.
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