Exploring embodied and located experience: Memory Work as a method for drug research

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Exploring embodied and located experience: Memory Work as a method for drug research.

  1. Qualitative drug research

Multiple benefits of qualitative approaches have been recognized by researchers in the field of drug studies (see, e.g., Rhodes & Moore, 2001; Nichter, Quintero, Nichter, Mock & Shakib, 2004; Leneghan, 2011; Duff, 2005). The inductive and iterative nature of qualitative research has been argued to be well suited to exploring and capturing areas of drug use which are outside of dominant discourses or “’commonsense’ interpretations of drug use” (Rhodes & Moore, 2001, p. 291). Furthermore, the focus on exploring detailed, contextualised personal narratives, rather than generalized categories, has been argued to give richer accounts of living with drug use, which give centre stage to the voices of the drug users’ themselves (e.g. Beck & Rosenbaum, 1994; Hinchliff, 2001; Duff, 2008; Hunt & Evans, 2008). Qualitative research has been argued to be better suited to capturing the complexities and ambiguities of drug experiences, as “lived experience is characterised by meaningfulness that often does not lend itself to quantitative measures” (Rosiek, 2003, p.174). As Duff (2005) has argued, building a complex picture of users’ experiences can also aid in recognising and harnessing pre-existing systems of self-regulation and harm reduction. Building on this strong tradition of qualitative methods in drug research, this report will outline the potential uses of one particular method, Memory Work, drawing on data from a recent study carried out with moderate MDMA users.

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