Social inclusion from on high: A poststructural comparative content analysis of drug policy texts from Canada and Scotland

Int J Drug Policy. 2019 Sep:71:19-28. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.03.027. Epub 2019 Jun 12.


This paper explores the social inclusion of the illicit drug user. It does this through a comparative examination of policy orientations to the social inclusion of people who use drugs. Six policy documents from Canada and Scotland produced in the years 2000 and 2001 were systematically sampled from 42 known documents. A poststructural content analysis adapted from the work of Maarten Hajer and mapped onto an analytic frame derived from Nikolas Rose's Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self is conducted. Within the years considered, drug policy texts from Scotland signaled a more punitive approach to drug use and a less socially inclusive approach to people who used drugs than drug policy texts from Canada. The differences in policy directions identified were in keeping with a priori interpretations of each country's broad approach to illicit drug use and to the social inclusion of the illicit drug user, if not to social inclusion itself. Methodologically, combining the approaches of Hajer and Rose proved complimentary and useful as well as promising for future application to the content analysis of public discourse.

Keywords: Canada; Content analysis; Drug policy; Poststructural analysis; Scotland; Social inclusion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Drug Users / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Psychological Distance
  • Public Policy*
  • Scotland
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*


  • Illicit Drugs

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