chapter  2
22 Pages

Governing Mentalities

Reading Political Culture

Illicit drug policy became a domain of feminist thought and action as it began to impact vast numbers of women. Gender matters for understanding political discourse on drugs in the sense that women’s drug use encodes broad anxieties about biological reproduction, child rearing, sexuality, and the potential for social reproduction in a society composed of “impulsive selves.” By tracing how the figures of drug use have been historically gendered, sexualized, and racialized, we can come to terms with who “we” have become as a public and from there work out who “we” want to be.1 Feminist policy studies incorporates a variety of approaches designed to analyze how women get “used” in public policy-and how women might “use” public policy to achieve a fuller measure of social justice.