Neither Villain Nor Victim: Empowerment and Agency Among Women Substance Abusers

Front Cover
Tammy L. Anderson
Rutgers University Press, 2008 - Psychology - 226 pages
Female drug addicts are often stereotyped either as promiscuous, lazy, and selfish, or as weak, scared, and trapped into addiction. These depictions typify the "pathology and powerlessness" narrative that has historically characterized popular and academic conversations about female substance abusers. Neither Villain Nor Victim attempts to correct these polarizing perspectives by presenting a critical feminist analysis of the drug world. By shifting the discussion to one centered on women's agency and empowerment, this book reveals the complex experiences and social relationships of women addicts.

Essays explore a range of topics, including the many ways that women negotiate the illicit drug world, how former drug addicts manage the more intimate aspects of their lives as they try to achieve abstinence, how women tend to use intervention resources more positively than their male counterparts, and how society can improve its response to female substance abusers by moving away from social controls (such as the criminalization of prostitution) and rehabilitative programs that have been shown to fail women in the long term.

Advancing important new perspectives about the position of women in the drug world, this book is essential reading in courses on women and crime, feminist theory, and criminal justice.

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