October 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Sociology & Anthropology Colloquium | Pills, CPS, Jail: Gendered Subjectivites of Pharmaceuticals and Criminalization of the Poor, Oct. 13

Lesly-Marie Buer

Lesly-Marie Buer

The Sociology & Anthropology Colloquium Series presents Lesly-Marie Buer on “Pills, CPS, Jail: Gendered Subjectivites of Pharmaceuticals and Criminalization of the Poor” on Friday, Oct. 13, at 4 p.m. in Bentley Annex 102.

Buer is a Healthy Development Coordinator for the Tennessee Department of Health. She is also doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences. Her research interests include, prescription drug misuse, HIV/STI, Appalachia, medical anthropology, and women’s health. She is writing her dissertation on the state policies and gendered inequalities that situate women’s experiences with substance use and substance abuse treatment in Central Appalachia.

Abstract: With the opioid epidemic and recent election, the media is focusing its attention on rural areas in the US in an effort to explain what has gone “wrong.” While context is often ignored and individual stories are assumed, differences in culture between urban and rural areas and past and current generations have become the favorite explanation. Using my ethnographic research in rural Central Appalachia among women navigating substance abuse treatment programs, I contest these easy and reductive arguments. Interdisciplinary analyses of gender, race, and class provide a framework in which to examine drug use, illicit economies, and government responses to women who use drugs. While state-sponsored programs may offer services women want, these programs at times further marginalize poor women. I foreground several women’s stories in order to provide an in-depth understanding of what it means to use and recover for some women in the rural US. I use women’s own suggestions, as well as current community efforts, to make recommendations of what individuals and communities can do in the wake of increasing overdose deaths and social inequalities.

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