Project: Governing the Narcotic City. Imaginaries, Practices and Discourses of Public Drug Cultures in European Cities from 1970 until Today.

Acronym GONACi
Duration 01/06/2016 - 28/02/2020
Project Topic This CRP explores the discourses, imaginaries and practices of public drug use in European cities from the 1970s to the present. The governance of the narcotic city, we argue, is essential to the production and control of public spaces and crucial to historical and present-day forms of urban exclusion, marginalization and integration. Within media and political discourse, it is predominantly the visibility of drug cultures in public space that is considered most problematic. These deviant practices are often linked to specific (and consequently stigmatized) spaces and associated with marginalized populations. The spatializations of drug cultures lead to a wide array of different city-level drug policies that are in urgent need of re-evaluation in order to foster safer, more inclusive and just European cities.To understand the spatialities and histories of drug cultures in public space, our team of interdisciplinary scholars and a broad range of associated partners from communities and institutions of public outreach will examine six multi-sited case-studies across nine European cities: Amsterdam, Berlin, Bordeaux, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Marseille, Prague, Rotterdam and Zurich. Using a mixed-methods approach, we analyze how imaginaries, practices and discourses of drug use have shaped the production of urban public space and how drug use as a cultural practice impacts European cities. Tracing the complex spatialities of public drug practices, their circulations, control and imaginaries, we aim to gain a theoretically grounded and empirically rich understanding of the historical and contemporary dynamics of public spaces in European cities in their symbolic, social and material dimensions.Furthermore, by producing the collaborative and open access European Archive of Public Drug Cultures, the CRP engages in critical dialogue with the growing academic, media and policy discourses on drug use and to produce knowledge on European drug cultures for diverse purposes and audiences.
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Call HERA Joint Research Programme “Public Spaces: Culture and Intergration in Europe”

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Aarhus Partner Denmark
2 CNRS PASSAGES Partner France
3 University of Duisburg-Essen Coordinator Germany
4 Open University of the Netherlands Heerlen Partner Netherlands