Addiction exercises enormous power over all those who are touched by it. This book argues that power and powerlessness have been neglected in addiction studies and that they are a unifying theme that brings together different areas of research from the field including the disempowering nature of addiction; effects on family, community and the workplace; epidemiological and ethnographic work; studies of the legal and illegal supply; and theories of treatment and change. Examples of alcohol, drug and gambling addiction are used to discuss the evidence that addiction is most disempowering where social resources to resist it are weakest; the ways in which the dominant discourses about addictive behaviour encourage the attributing of responsibility for addiction to individuals and divert attention from the powerful who benefit from addiction; and the ways in which the voices of those whose interests are least well-served by addiction are silenced.
Jim Orford is Emeritus Professor of Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of Birmingham. Jim is a long-standing researcher and writer in the addiction field. Amongst his fourteen previous books are successful titles on addiction, notably Excessive Appetites: A Psychological View of Addictions (1st edition, 1985; 2nd edition, 2001), as well as others on community psychology including Community Psychology: Challenges, Controversies and Emerging Consensus (2008). He is one of the UK's leading addiction researchers and has an international reputation. In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious international E. M. Jellinek Award for his contribution to alcohol and addiction studies.
1. Powerful connections: three examples of addiction; 2. How addiction erodes free agency; 3. Addiction subordinates the interests of family members and friends; 4. Inequality in the power to resist addiction; 5. Power and powerlessness in the addiction supply industries; 6. Reasserting control and power in the process of change and treatment; 7. Facing up to the power of addiction and those who benefit from it.