Louis Gerald Plottel

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10621

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Plottel, Louis (Toronto, U. of) "Work on Speed: Labour, Youth, and Methamphetamine in Aceh, Indonesia"

In Aceh, Indonesia, methamphetamine circulates as a substance, and as a moral discourse concerning the future prospects of young men. Most users are indeed young men who report getting high on the job to work long hours without eating or sleeping (BNN, 2021). My dissertation project examines the role of methamphetamine in the life course of young men in Aceh. I ask: why are so many young men getting high at work, and what does it signify about their relationship with working life? How do young men make sense of their dependence upon methamphetamine as a drug that gives them more energy to work – and that makes work pleasurable – while also positioning them as socially transgressive and in need of ‘rehabilitation’? Considering Indonesia’s ongoing industrial transition, I also ask how drug use relates to broad labour pattern changes and the increasing speed of Indonesia’s capitalist development. Building on longstanding anthropological attention to labour, the body, and coming of age, I consider what happens when drugs create the very conditions of possibility for development, and how those caught up in its moral discourses navigate life while high.