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Socially Integrated Drug Users : Between Deviance and Normality

by Rødner Sznitman, Sharon

Abstract (Summary)
The purpose of this thesis is to improve our knowledge of substance users in the normal population. The main concern is with how the meaning of drug use is constructed. To answer this, the thesis draws on different theoretical principles and mixed methods design.The thesis is made up of four sub-studies, with interconnected foci. The first three papers are based on a qualitative research project in which 44 socially integrated drug users in Stockholm were interviewed. The fourth paper is a cross-national quantitative analysis of nationally representative student samples.The first of the three qualitative papers explores the construction of the informant’s self-identity. The second paper analyses the informant’s perceptions of drug-related risk, whilst the third paper analyses the drug users’ perception of differences between men’s and women’s drug use. The fourth paper sets the detailed analyses of the first three papers in a broader comparative frame, exploring differences in the correlates of drug use, in light of the different levels of drug use in Sweden and Switzerland.The thesis reveals that the drug users are striving to be understood as normal integrated citizens of Swedish society. They present themselves as inherently different from drug abusers and the informants’ risk perceptions are based on a modified form of core Swedish cultural ideals of conscientiousness. The informants also waver back and forth when called upon to discuss gender and drug-taking. On the one hand they were explicit about existing differences between men’s and women’s drug use; on the other hand they were quite uncomfortable having to explicitly explain them, as this meant that they needed to draw on conservative gender roles, something which in Swedish society is a strong sign of being politically incorrect. Furthermore, the thesis shows that young drug abstainers and cannabis users are quite similar in regards to conventional social bonds.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Stockholms universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Social sciences; Sociology; Socially integrated drug users; Sweden; Switzerland; drug normalization; mixed methods; sociologi; Sociology

ISBN:978-91-7155-439-0

Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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