Exploring the Relationship between Discourses of Gender, Drug Use, and Rurality among Rural Young Women
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This research investigates recreational drug use, a leisure practice that has been at the centre of debate in regard to what constitutes ‘respectable’ and ‘deviant’ leisure. Using a feminist poststructural perspective and positioning theory, this study investigates how rural young women make sense of recreational drug use practices in the context of constantly shifting ideas about what it means to be a ‘respectable’ drug user as well as a ‘successful’ young rural woman. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with four young women (aged 18-30 years) living in the County of ‘Wildlark’, Ontario (population approximately 50,000). Findings showed that the young rural women drew on multiple and at times contradictory discourses of age, class, and gender when negotiating their subjectivity. Further, their identities as ‘successful’ young rural women were interwoven with neoliberal discourses of a normative life trajectory and mobility imperative. This research demonstrates that recreational drug use and the young rural women who use drugs can not be easily classified as ‘respectable’ or ‘deviant’ since our understanding of what constitutes recreational drug use is constantly shifting and impacted by who, what, when, where and how the drug use occurs.