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The Moral Landscapes of Drugs in Africa - A special issue of Politique africaine

NDLEA Drug burning undated

A special issue of the  internationally renowned journal Politique Africaine adresses the theme "The Moral Landscapes of Drugs in Africa". Link to special issue (2021/3):

Based on the papers of this issue, IFRA-Nigeria organised an online seminar on Wednesday 27 April from 4pm to 6pm (WAT, Lagos & UTC+1, London).

Research on drugs in Africa has struggled to rid itself of assumptions inherited from the colonial period and the global war on drugs launched in the 1980s. Existing research on drugs (cannabis, cocaine and opiates) is often commissioned by states and is part of a primarily political and security agenda. In the context of growing public debate on the legalisation of drugs, such as cannabis, in several African countries, as well as the continued predominance of prohibitionist discourses, this special issue is timely. Contributions to the special issue aim to challenge existing research on drugs and break with an approach that remains mostly focussed on security.

Politique Africaine's special issue questions the contemporary reality of drugs in Africa and proposes a theoretical reflection on the important moral dimensions of drugs with new empirical data. The contributions make it possible to take into account the discourses and practices of different actors: consumers, traders, moral authorities and regulators. The research strategy adopted involved questioning the meanings that these actors attribute individually and collectively to drug use and trade, the benefits they derive from them and the moral frameworks that drugs are part of. This issue thus proposes to look at the perceptions of young people, the poor, and urban dwellers assigned to so-called ghettos. it compares these perceptions with those of elites and moral authorities who present themselves as guardians of the moral order.


- Maxime Ricard (IRSEM), 'Smokehouses and Relations of Interdependence: Negotiating the Social Order in Abobo, Abidjan'
- Annigje van Dijk (KU Leuven) and Roger Zerbo (CNRST), 'Between Drugs and Society: Moral Experiences and Drug Addiction in Ouagadougou'
- Gernot Klantschnig (Bristol) and Ini-Dele Adedeji (Bristol), 'Opioid of the People: The Moral Economy of Tramadol in Lagos'



Tags: Drugs

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