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War on PeopleDrug User Politics and a New Ethics of Community$
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Jarrett Zigon

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297692

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297692.001.0001

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The Drug War as Widely Diffused Complexity

The Drug War as Widely Diffused Complexity

(p.21) Chapter 1 The Drug War as Widely Diffused Complexity
War on People

Jarrett Zigon

University of California Press

This chapter follows the lead of the anti–drug war movement and conceptualizes the drug war as a situation that is widely diffused across different global scales, emerges differentially in various worlds, and affectively conditions those and that which “gets caught up” in the situation. This concept helps address the question of how it is that people all around the globe, who are otherwise very different from one another, can be said to find themselves in shared conditions for being. The drug war is shown to be one of those complex social phenomena that provide these shared conditions. It is argued and shown ethnographically that the drug war is best considered as a non-totalizable assemblage constituted by various aspects of other non-totalizable assemblages such as global militarism, state-based surveillance and control, carceral political-economics, biopolitical therapeutics, and international and national inequalities, among others. While such a conceptualization takes account of how the drug war can potentially affect anyone, it also reveals how potential for politically struggling against the drug war emerges out of its assembled complexity. Thus, the chapter ends by giving an example of how the anti–drug war movement works at the interstice between the biopolitical therapeutic and surveillance and control aspects of the drug war to fight against it.

Keywords:   drug war, situation, assemblage, political activity, complexity

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