7 Pages

A Politics of Social Justice

Predators or prey, drug-using women deviate from the norms of modern femininity. Women were symbolically overdetermined in the contagion model, the maladjustment model, and the family configuration model because they were positioned to relay addiction from its “hidden” confines in the family to the larger society. The residual power of governing mentalities is never fully displaced, which is why the historical repository of representative figures traced in Part II remains significant. Social change, however, transmutes older conceptualizations to fit new circumstances, as we saw in Part III. When demographic and economic shifts produced more female-headed households, the old family configuration model guided policy-makers’ alarm. Material factors, in other words, are not so threatening without the governing mentalities that frame their meaning.