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‘Addicting’ via Twitter

SSAC’s purpose is to study, map and monitor ideas of addiction, seeking to illuminate the ways the ‘problem of addiction’ itself is constituted and operationalised in Australian society, culture and politics. Recently, SSAC researchers Dr Robyn Dwyer and Professor Suzanne Fraser began analysing the addiction concepts circulating throughout the social media platform, Twitter. As lead investigator…

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Lives of Substance

In 2014 Curtin University’s Social Studies of Addiction Concepts (SSAC) research team began work on an innovative project that would underpin Australia’s first dedicated web site presenting personal experiences of people who consider themselves to have an alcohol or other drug addiction, dependence or habit. The groundbreaking Lives of Substance web site will offer new…

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Addiction screening tools: Assumptions and effects

In Australia and around the world addiction is defined and rendered measurable with the use of standardised addiction screening and diagnostic questionnaires or ‘tools’. Wherever statements are made about addiction, its effects and appropriate remedies, these tools have played a key part. In 2015, SSAC researchers Dr Robyn Dwyer and Professor Suzanne Fraser began analysing these tools…

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Addiction: One term, many different experiences

After successful data collection in Melbourne, Bendigo, Sydney and Northern Rivers, interviews for the SSAC research project ‘Experiences of addiction, treatment and recovery’ are now complete. The interviews comprise material from 60 participants who consider themselves to have an alcohol or other drug (AOD) habit, dependence or addiction. Commenting on the experience of conducting some of the interviews,…

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ARC funds fellowship on addiction in the law

Dr Kate Seear, adjunct research fellow with SSAC and Senior Lecturer in Law at Monash University, was recently awarded a prestigious DECRA fellowship by the Australian Research Council. The fellowship will support Kate to conduct a major international study on addiction and the law over the next three years (2016-18). Entitled ‘Addiction in the Australian…

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How do Australian drug courts frame ‘addiction’? A Victorian case study

Showcased recently at the 2015 Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO) international criminal justice conference, the work of SSAC PhD Student, Eliana Sarmiento focuses on the role of drug treatment courts in defining addiction and shaping lives. Held in Melbourne in October, the conference was organised around the thematic question, ‘do prisons change lives?’ Eliana’s project…

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Experiences of addiction: Final interviews

Following successful data collection in Melbourne, Bendigo and Sydney, SSAC research project ‘Experiences of addiction, treatment and recovery’ is now entering its final phase of interviewing, this time in the New South Wales Northern Rivers region. Research associate Dr Kiran Pienaar has commenced interviewing in Byron Bay, and plans to collect data across the region,…

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Constituting ‘addiction’ in China’s drug policy

China’s compulsory drug detention centres attract international criticism for human right violations. As such they are a key site of contestation between China’s government and Western human rights advocacy organisations. The issue is framed as a contest between ‘health’ and ‘criminalisation’ models in which a central organising concept is that of addiction. SSAC MPhil student Judy Chang…

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Making addiction in screening tools

In a newly published article by Dr Robyn Dwyer and Professor Suzanne Fraser, standardised addiction screening and diagnostic tools used widely in Australia and around the world are analysed to illuminate their role in defining addiction and rendering it measurable. A key element in expert knowledge-making, the tools play a central role in establishing the ‘reality’ of addiction. In…

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SSAC to present research at CDP Lisbon conference

September will see three members of the SSAC team travel to Lisbon, Portugal to take part in the biennial Contemporary Drug Problems conference. Recognised as one of the world’s most innovative and challenging international forums for social research on drug use, the conference will allow SSAC staff to showcase a range of projects underway in…