This chapter examines the relationship between drug distribution modes and users’ presentation of self. It argues that the design and operation of illicit drug marketplaces produce specific subjectivities among dealers and buyers. It uses the case of opiate buyers in a darknet cryptomarket to examine the relationship between market processes and drug culture. Taking a material culture perspective, it discusses what aspects of potency are sought after and how the drugs themselves are calibrated to reflect market conditions and users’ experiences and expectations. It examines how the substance’s potency becomes stable, both as a physical substance and as a consistent commodity, and the introduction of harm through the supply chain. It discusses users’ presentation as hyper-modern, risk-reflexive consumers. Increasingly, we are seeing self-efficacy being used as the measure of a substance’s potency, a new development which points towards a novel understanding of the relationship between self and intoxication. Features of the marketplace design plug into this subjectivity, promoting a rational consumer ethic through its feedback features. The chapter ends with some critical thoughts on how the ‘rational market’ design makes some features of the commodity chain transparent while obscuring others.
|Title of host publication||Routledge Handbook of Intoxicants and Intoxication|
|Editors||Geoffrey Hunt, Tamar M. J. Antin, Vibeke Asmussen Frank|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Nov 2022|
|Name||Routledge International Handbooks|