A psychoactive paradox of masculinities: cohesive and competitive relations between drug taking Irish men

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Abstract

This article explores one dimension of Ireland’s illicit drug landscape: men’s predominance as recreational users of illicit psychoactive substances. It uses a gender lens on Irish men’s drug taking practices, to reveal how men’s drug use and drug intoxication converge with masculinities in paradoxical ways. Drawing from twenty in-depth interviews with Irish men who identified as illicit recreational drug users, their drug histories and experiences are unpacked; making visible the intersections between men’s use of illicit psychoactive substances, gender, culture and place. I explore how illicit drugs can have, at times, paradoxical uses within homosocial spaces. Men’s bedrooms, house parties, the street, nightclubs and pubs (albeit discretely) were common places where men engaged in the recreational use of illicit drugs, and it was in these spaces that men’s illicit drug use was interpreted as a symbolic activity with gendered meanings. By employing a masculinities lens to analyse men’s recreational use of illicit psychoactive substances, men’s drug taking interactions reveal intricacies within the gender order. I argue that illicit drugs are resources that some men utilise to navigate conventional understandings of masculinity, albeit in paradoxical ways.

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APA

Darcy, C. (2020). A psychoactive paradox of masculinities: cohesive and competitive relations between drug taking Irish men. Gender, Place and Culture, 27(2), 175–195. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2019.1609427

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