Accepted Paper:

Outreach in harm reduction organization: interactions between actors and moral systems in a Canadian urban context.  


Anaïs Baridon (Université de Montréal)

Paper short abstract:

This research is based on an ethnographic research in a community outreach organization. It explores the mechanisms and processes of transmission of values and moral, operating in discourses and practices about drugs, health and living together.

Paper long abstract:

Inspired by Anthropology of moralities and ethics, my research is based on an ethnographic fieldwork in a Canadian city's outreach community organization, within a context of drug consumption concerns. I focused on three groups of actors: the management team, the outreach workers, and the services users. The harm reduction approach invites health professional workers to adopt different points of view from the moralistic one which forbids any drug consumption. This approach aims a tolerant and a-moral intervention within the drug consumption to reduce the harms effects. Yet, health anthropologists assume that, even in a will to be a-moral, social workers participate passing on values and norms (Bourgeault 2003 ; Massé 2003 ; Massé 2013). Concerning symbolic Interactionism, we admit the co-existence of different systems of norms in a society. Also, from Anthropology of moralities' point of view, we can say that community actors are part of those interactions. They discuss, act and share values, as they are part of the building or rebuilding of systems of norms. Among others, it will be possible to observe the tension between liberty and security in a neoliberal world of illicit drug using. Observing those systems: Which values and how these values are passed on from one to another? It could help us to understand the normalisation and moralisation on drugs, identities and health among different actors. Finally, this could question the basis of social changes and give some clues to understand how we should live together.

Panel RM-SPK09
Everyday neoliberalism