Governing The Narcotic City. Imaginaries, Practices and Discourses of Public Drug Cultures in European Cities from 1970 until Today

The Gendered Narcotic City: (Self-)Governing Feminist Party Spaces

Oftentimes masculinist discourses and governance practices ignore female drug cultures while portraying intoxicated female bodies as monstrous mothers or vulnerable victims, especially in public space. As a corrective to this construction of female drug users as objects of anxiety, shame and disgust, this project will explore how women self-govern drug related violence and aim to create spaces of care and empowerment for safe and joyful drug use. Drawing on the rich literature on emotional geographies, the morally charged fields of drug use and sexual violence will serve to explore how affect and narratives of emotion are implicated in spatial politics.

The research focuses on the (self-)governing of feminist party spaces in three cities with vibrant and often connected feminist and drug scenes: Berlin, Amsterdam and Bordeaux. Exploring new participatory methodologies – the use of (collective) zine production for research – the project, firstly, analyzes how users of feminist night time economies perceive the spaces, what feelings are invoked, and what is framed as problems to be solved. Secondly, the project turns to already existing problem-solving attempts and analyzes the self-regulation of feminist party spaces. Awareness and safer drug consumption teams that aim to prevent dangers arising at the intersections of sexist society and drug consumption have recently become common place at leftist festivals, parties and sometimes even for-profit clubs. Semi-structured interviews with team members and organizers of feminist party spaces as well as participant observation will map existing approaches, analyze the power relations addressed and created by the spatial politics and analyze the role of emotions therein.

Mélina Germes
Jenny Künkel
Emily Bereskin, Frederieke Westerheide, Gemma Block, Stefan Höhne, Thomas Bürk, Louise Fabian, Anders Lund Hansen, Boris Michel, Peter-Paul Bänziger, David O’Neill
HERA, Humanity in the European Research Area
Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (Germany), Aarhus University (Denmark), Open Universität (Netherlands), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany), IB Hochschule (Germany)