Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationMichigan State U.
Grant numberGr. 9376
Approve DateOctober 11, 2016
Project TitleHenry, Kehli Ardis, Michigan State U., East Lansing, MA - To aid research on 'An American Indian Community's War on Drugs: Intersections of History, Culture, Policy and Representation,' supervised by Dr. Heather Howard
Preliminary abstract: This study will explore how individual, community and institutional ideologies of drug and alcohol use affect the lives and wellbeing of drug and alcohol users in a Midwest American Indian community, in the context of the community’s officially declared ‘War on Drugs.’ Inquiry will center on three questions: 1.) Why and how have varied ideologies of drug and alcohol use, and representations of drug and alcohol users, shifted in both the American Indian community and larger community over time? 2.) How do varying discussions and representations of drug and alcohol users reflect different ideologies about tribal identity, culture, community, and the relationships between American Indian community members and addiction? 3.) In what ways do community members reinforce, enact, contest or reject hegemonic ideals and rhetoric in their drug and alcohol related discussions and actions? Anthropologists studying drugs, alcohol, and addiction have decried the US government’s War on Drugs as a resounding failure that targets poor and otherwise marginalized individuals in ways that perpetuate inequality. However, the tribal community’s War on Drugs has been framed much differently. The tribal War on Drugs centers on healing individuals, family, and the community, and includes assertions that part of being a warrior against drugs is exercising love and caring. Antonio Gramsci’s discussion of hegemony and state control will be employed to demonstrate the powers relations inherent in these institutional and government exchanges, and discussions of ‘cultural critique’ will be employed to examine the utility of culture as a marker of difference employed by multiple actors, and as a tool employed in hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourse.