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    Phantasmal commodities: law, violence and the Juris-diction of drugs

    Koram, Kojo (2022) Phantasmal commodities: law, violence and the Juris-diction of drugs. Third World Quarterly 43 (11), pp. 2731-2746. ISSN 0143-6597.

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    An appreciation of the social function of the concept of drugs is essential for understanding the moral panic that they engender. Despite only emerging as a concept over the course of the twentieth century, Drugs have come to be seen not as mere plant life in the manner that they appear in nature, nor are they seen as commodities, natural resources to be exploited for capitalist gain. Drugs instead function as the primary example of what anthropologist Michael Taussig calls ‘transgressive substances.’ Within the conceptualisation of prohibitionist law, drugs are not taken as the standard commodity to be exploited by humans for profits but instead are feared as phantom commodities that have the power to rule their creators. The concept of drugs through the law imbuing existing plant life with the phantasmal powers to able to use and consume the human subject as opposed to allowing humanity to use and consume it. Drugs become not just objects but pathways, seen to facilitate movement between different states of being, transferring its consumers from the realm of the human to the non-human. This article examines prohibition’s engagement with the everyday life of drugs to open up how the concepts theoretical grounding is anchored a law-making violence that seeks to cleanse an idealised imagination of the social.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Law School
    Depositing User: Kojo Koram
    Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2022 09:48
    Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 01:10


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