Narcofeminisms: Revisioning Drug Use, the latest Sociological Review monograph, aims to shift the sociological focus on drug use from a feminist concern with how drugs are used as regulatory technologies to control the conduct of women and other minoritised people, to an exploration of what drugs can do as a feminist practice.

Guest edited by Fay Dennis, Kiran Pienaar and Marsha Rosengarten, the collection of new scholarly work draws on the drug-user activist concept of “narcofeminism”, a collective movement “for women who use drugs to mobilise, fight for their right to self- determination and to have their voices heard”.

The monograph provides space to rethink how drugs are conceived in sociology, and chart their role in shaping selves and worlds. Narcofeminisms includes the perspectives of 15 contributors, including academics, activists and people whose lives are intimately connected with drugs.

Among the subjects explored in Narcofeminisms are “acid feminism”, harm reduction programmes, drugs and techno music, “chemsex”, alcohol harms, “wayward lives” and refusing recovery, drug dog policing operations, and the ambivalent pleasures of narcofeminist “alterlife”.

The monograph also features a conversation among five narcofeminist activists and the editors. Jamie Harary contributed the cover illustration.

The editors aim “not to dismiss or underplay the complexities that are part and parcel of the illicit world of drug use, notably the suffering and struggles that pervade it, but to dramatise how counterposing tensions of drug use (harms and benefits) are navigated. Instead of treating drugs as oppressive technologies (to be emancipated from), we ask what drugs can do (to emancipate, while inviting reflection on what emancipation means)”.

Published digitally on 1 August 2023, with a print version forthcoming, Narcofeminisms: Revisioning Drug Use is Issue 71:4 in The Sociological Review Journal series for 2023.

This title was overseen by Sociological Review Monographs Editors Dr Karen ThrosbyDr Cath Lambert and Dr Bo-Wei Chen, and includes seven open-access articles, including the editors’ introduction and afterword.

The monograph will be launched in Paris on 6 September 2023 at the Contemporary Drug Problems conference, an initiative of the journal of the same name.

Monograph 71:4 table of contents

Section 1: Narcofeminism – Living and Responding at the Margins

Section 2: Drugs and gender – Technologies of oppression and resistance

Section 3: Drugs and sexualities – Practices of care and connection

Section 4: Narcofeminist worldbuilding

About the guest editors of Narcofeminisms: Revisioning Drug Use

Fay Dennis is Wellcome Trust Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Centre for Invention and Social Process at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on the socio-material production of illicit and licit drug effects. Her current research project explores changes and innovations in UK substance use treatment following COVID-19, and takes up these inventions as an invitation to think differently on what future treatment could be. Dr Dennis has published articles in a number of sociological and drug policy journals, and is author of Injecting Bodies in More-than-Human Worlds (Routledge, 2019).

Kiran Pienaar is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Deakin University, Australia. Her research centres on gender, sexuality and the body, particularly in relation to drug consumption and sexual cultures; and the social dimensions of health and illness with a focus on the sociology of pandemics. Dr Pienaar’s work has appeared in journals including SexualitiesInternational Journal of Drug Policy and Social Science & Medicine. She is author of Politics in the Making of HIV/AIDS in South Africa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Marsha Rosengarten is Professor in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of HIV Interventions: Biomedicine and the Traffic in Information and Flesh (University of Washington Press, 2009), co-author with Mike Michael of Innovation and Biomedicine: Ethics, Evidence and Expectation in HIV (Palgrave Macmillan, and co-editor with Alex Wilkie and Martin Savransky of Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures (Routledge, 2017). Professor Rosengarten’s recent publications focus on biomedical formulations and interventions in response to infectious disease and draw on feminist theory and process philosophy. Her work offers alternative ways of conceiving intervention attuned to the situated experience and knowledge of those affected.