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Pleasure Consuming Medicine: The Queer Politics of Drugs 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0822345015
ISBN-10: 0822345013
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book's clear prose makes a complex subject easily digestible. Race's book provides useful theoretical starting points for anyone considering gay community, discourses surrounding consumption of legal and illegal drugs, and pleasure and subjectivity. This is an important contribution to the field of queer theory and provides a catalyst for further work grounded in pleasure and embodiments.” - Jessica Rodgers, M/C Reviews


“Race takes topics, which some may consider provocative, and crafts ethical responses that are honest and offer insight into the capabilities of the ‘drug-using body’ (189). Race’s monograph will appeal to scholars in feminist and queer studies, as well as intellectual historians because of its rich integration of twentieth-century intellectual theory.” - Bennett Goldstein, Pharmacy in History


“For those of us who study drugs and drug use, the power of official discourse can seem inescapable. Almost all major research grants, for example, are explicitly framed in terms of abuse, addiction, and enforcement. But Kane
Race’s excellent new book Pleasure Consuming Medicine demonstrates the critical importance of examining that framework itself. . . . This book would be a useful addition to many advanced courses in the areas of sociology of medicine, sexualities, or drug policy.” - Wendy Chapkis, Contemporary Sociology


“[A] serious, erudite, and wholly brilliant book. . . . Ultimately, Pleasure Consuming Medicine outlines ways to improve communication between medicine and the two communities with which Race is most concerned, HIV-positive persons and illicit drug users. Read broadly, Pleasure also provides ways of fighting back. Race furthers an argument that combats the learned helplessness of living in a society in which normalizing health messages from drug ads seem inescapable, and that reclaims for consumers the intimate politics of pleasure and health.” - Jonathan Metzl, GLQ


“[T]hose who are well versed in critical theory, social history, and queer studies and who proceed slowly and contemplate his complex argument, will be greatly rewarded. It would be appropriate to use in graduate-level courses in several fields.” - Lawrence James Hammar, Feminist Review blog


Pleasure Consuming Medicine is one of the best examples of critical cultural studies I have read. The scholarship is truly stunning. Kane Race presents a highly original argument which extends thinking about several interconnected issues: HIV, drugs, drug culture, embodiment, medical governance, sexuality, and identities.”—Elspeth Probyn, Research SA Chair, The University of South Australia


“Kane Race's Pleasure Consuming Medicine supplies what we have missed for so long: a radical but responsible exploration of both the ethics and the politics of pleasure. Exhilarating in its daring and its intelligence, startling in its originality yet completely sensible in its interpretations, the book unerringly describes the paradoxical world where we now live out the cruelties and ecstasies of human embodiment.”—David Halperin, author of Saint Foucault and What Do Gay Men Want?


“[A] serious, erudite, and wholly brilliant book. . . . Ultimately, Pleasure Consuming Medicine outlines ways to improve communication between medicine and the two communities with which Race is most concerned, HIV-positive persons and illicit drug users. Read broadly, Pleasure also provides ways of fighting back. Race furthers an argument that combats the learned helplessness of living in a society in which normalizing health messages from drug ads seem inescapable, and that reclaims for consumers the intimate politics of pleasure and health.”
(Jonathan Metzl, GLQ)

“[T]hose who are well versed in critical theory, social history, and queer studies and who proceed slowly and contemplate his complex argument, will be greatly rewarded. It would be appropriate to use in graduate-level courses in several fields.”
(Lawrence James Hammar, Feminist Review blog)

“For those of us who study drugs and drug use, the power of official discourse can seem inescapable. Almost all major research grants, for example, are explicitly framed in terms of abuse, addiction, and enforcement. But Kane Race’s excellent new book Pleasure Consuming Medicine demonstrates the critical importance of examining that framework itself. . . . This book would be a useful addition to many advanced courses in the areas of sociology of medicine, sexualities, or drug policy.”
(Wendy Chapkis, Contemporary Sociology)

“Race takes topics, which some may consider provocative, and crafts ethical responses that are honest and offer insight into the capabilities of the ‘drug-using body’ (189). Race’s monograph will appeal to scholars in feminist and queer studies, as well as intellectual historians because of its rich integration of twentieth-century intellectual theory.”
(Bennett Goldstein, Pharmacy in History)

“This book's clear prose makes a complex subject easily digestible. Race's book provides useful theoretical starting points for anyone considering gay community, discourses surrounding consumption of legal and illegal drugs, and pleasure and subjectivity. This is an important contribution to the field of queer theory and provides a catalyst for further work grounded in pleasure and embodiments.”
(Jessica Rodgers, M/C Reviews)

About the Author

Kane Race is a Senior Lecturer in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books; 1 edition (July 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822345013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822345015
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,142,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This book takes queer theory and approaches in unexpected directions by using it to critique the norms of everyday life that underwrite the pharmaceutical market AND punitive approaches to the War on Drugs. As such, it presents a stunningly fresh use of queer theory and extends the project of scholars like Eve Sedgwick, among others, who hoped that queer theory would spin off into entirely unanticipated directions and applications, while still providing a powerful critique of normalising regimes. But this book is much more than theory. Refreshingly, it is generously informed by a whole lot of historical and empirical material about medicine, cultures of drug use, gay sexual practice, and much more, which make it a consistently fascinating read. There are lots of brilliant and provocative ideas in this book, and it has a keen sense of many of the paradoxes of modern life (such as the flimsy distinction between licit and illicit drugs). The account of gay cultures of crystal meth use in the last chapter is one of the first non-moralizing, honest, realistic assessment of this culture I have come across and it really makes you think! I think this book is indispensable reading for anyone who is interested in biopolitics, Foucault, the history of medicine, consumer culture, public health and gay sexual cultures. Highly recommended!
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This book addresses head on some of the sterotypical thinking current in the addiction treatment world about the horrors of drug use. It is so easy to take a moralistic stand on drug use, and yet how unhelpful has that position been shown to be? As the war on drug has shown us, mostly destructive, as drug use simply goes underground. I have seen many 12-step programmes simply reproduce the same weary thinking. This book doesn't take an opposing romanticised view that drug taking is all OK and good. Instead, it asks questions about the social function of making drug-taking illegal. It takes a meta-view, and uses Foucault's thinking to look more critically at the social purpose of all positioning on drugs, legal or illegal. It also makes some tantalising comments on antiretroviral drugs. I found this one of the most exciting books on drugs in many years, especially as it situates itself in the gay men's world of the party circuit and drug use. Few writers have the courage and intellectual engagement to talk about drugs, illegal and legal, so frankly.
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