On the edge: drugs and the consumption of risk in late modernity

Reith, G. (2005) On the edge: drugs and the consumption of risk in late modernity. In: Lyng, S. (ed.) Edgework: The Sociology of Risk Taking. Routledge: New York, USA, pp. 227-246. ISBN 9780415932165

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Publisher's URL: http://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b2214706


The culture of consumption that characterizes late-modern society is described, focusing on theoretical notions of 'normal' vs 'abnormal' consumption practices & attempts to regulate these, particularly via the discourses of reason & medicine. It is suggested that the tension created between societal forces that simultaneously attempt to restrict & encourage consumption creates an ideal situation for 'edgework,' with consumers continually perched on the boundary between indulgence & denial of their impulses & desires. Ideas proffered by Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, & George Bataille about the excesses & abnormalities of consumer capitalism are reviewed, focusing on the concepts of anomie, insatiability, & 'morbid appetites.' The example of voluntary intoxication through drug taking is cited as a dramatic form of edgework; ways that it meets several key criteria of edgework -- transgression, extreme experience, hyperreality, self-actualization, & control -- are discussed.

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:Boundary Maintenance, Consumerism, Consumption, Deviant Behavior, Drug Addiction, Drugs, Risk, Risk Society, Edgework
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Reith, Professor Gerda
Authors: Reith, G.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences

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