The Drug Free Society: Drug Politics as a Field of Struggles : A Discourse Analysis of the Drug Politics Debate in Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Nyheter, 1992-2018.

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Sociologiska institutionen

Abstract: New ways to deal with the drug problem seems to be emerging in western countries. Sweden, however, holds on to its strict zero-tolerance approach. Within a historical perspective, this thesis aims at understanding how the Swedish drug model has developed in this direction and remained so, even in face of changes in the international arena in the form of harm reduction measures, decriminalization of consumption and legalization of light drugs. Through a discourse analysis of the drug politics debate in the two leading Swedish Newspapers, Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Nyheter, I argue that the discourses produced in such media vehicles allow for an interpretation of the material in terms of Bourdieu’s concept of field and Foucault’s concept of discourse. The dominant players in the field defend the goal of a drug-free society by using different types of discourses, such as those that conflate the war on drugs with a defense of the nation.  Although the legitimacy of their non-medical discourse is being challenged by those who want to redefine the issue of drugs in medical terms, the dominant players’ discourse still has the power to justify their dominant positions in the field.

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