Hilary Agro

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

British Columbia, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10486

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Agro, Hilary (British Columbia, U. of) "Resistance to prohibition among people whose drug use is criminalized in Toronto, ON"

The goal of this project is to ethnographically examine the ways people who use criminalized drugs resist drug prohibition. Using participant-observation and interviews, this research will explore, in the context of the accelerating crises of capitalism and global political instability, how people who use drugs organize against and/or refuse the structures of prohibition that put them at risk of state violence. This research is situated among two overlapping groups in Toronto, Canada: 1) anti-prohibition activists fighting for harm reduction programs and a legal, regulated drug supply, and 2) proponents of underground psychedelic-assisted therapy. The ultimate aim of this project is to complicate individualized, pathologized frameworks around drug use and instead contextualize both drugs and collective action within the broader sociopolitical ruptures and uncertainties of the current era. Further, this project will use ethnographic methods and analysis to contribute a critical anthropological perspective to ongoing debates about drug use, drug policy, and de-carceral futures. This research will explore questions such as: how do anti-prohibition activists mobilize emotions to drive cultural change? Given the globally intensifying capitalist crises, how do drug use and collective action factor into peoples’ attempts to cope with uncertainty and fear of the political present and future?