Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Associate Professor Suzanne Fraser, leader of the Social Studies of Addiction Concepts (SSAC) program at Australia’s National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) today launched the program’s new logo and website.
Speaking from NDRI’s office in Melbourne, Australia, Fraser explained that the SSAC program was designed as a new global initiative to connect addiction researchers and practitioners from around the world, and that she envisaged the site becoming ‘an important central resource for scholars with an interest in social studies of addiction and addiction concepts’. The site contains details of activities being undertaken by staff and students within SSAC, including research in collaboration with Australian and international scholars. It also contains information about SSAC’s networks, links to useful resources and other organisations, and information about forthcoming events of interest to those working in the field.
Fraser explained that she established the SSAC program because of the need for more research into the various ‘social and political forces that shape policy and service provision in relation to addiction. There are many longstanding and unexamined assumptions about the origins, nature and meaning of drug use and addiction, and these are constantly evolving as new ideas about addiction emerge, such as those from the field of neuroscience. All this has important implications for individual health, rights and social life.’ Pointing to the way that drug addiction concepts were increasingly being used in relation to other daily practices and habits, such as eating, sex, shopping, gambling, exercise and more, Fraser argued that ‘there’s a need to track developments in these fields, including the ways addiction is being made and re-made in different contexts’. As Suzanne pointed out, ‘Addiction occupies a special place in our governing processes because it’s treated as both a disease and as a criminal justice issue. It also occupies a special place in culture. It shows up in film and television and literature on a regular basis, sometimes as an object of fear, sometimes of fascination and even romance. Somehow it speaks to our deep concerns about control, freedom, pleasure and limits’.
The research program at SSAC aims to explore changes in addiction concepts and language in Australia and in select sites around the world and to directly inform policy and service responses to addiction. ‘It’s a large and challenging program’, Suzanne said, ‘and it promises to offer much more than specific information about drug use. In looking at this key site of pleasure and control, it can help us reflect on what it means to be human right now.’
The program is funded through an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, awarded to Fraser in 2012. NDRI receives core funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health.
For further information on the program, see our ‘About’ page. Details on projects appear under our ‘Projects’ tab. To contact the team, see our details under ‘Contact’.
Information about NDRI can be found by clicking the link on the Links page.