Между осознанностью и незаконностью: молодежные культуры потребления психоактивных веществ в Санкт-Петербурге
Research on psychoactive substance use among youth most often stigmatizes users and makes young peoples’ experience "risk-taking". This approach does not take into account the need of young people to normalize their consumption experience. At the same time, the consumer experience itself includes not only the direct use of psychoactive substances, but also regulated language, meanings and norms of behavior – their totality is a culture of drug use. This article analyzes the specifics of mastering the consumer culture of psychoactive substances: the differences between the first biographical and first significant experience of consumption, the categories of social agents involved in the process of assimilation of consumer culture (consumers with extensive experience, close people and members of the same company). We also offer three main elements of drug consumption cultures, the characteristics of which allow us to identify the specifics of a particular assimilated culture and demonstrate the diversity of practices and values of drug use (the level of desired control of consumption, the approach to the choice and organization of space, the attitude towards physicality during consumption). Another result of the analysis is a description of the ways in which young people normalize consumer experience: through the requirements for the safety of the implementation of consumer practices, detuning from other cultures of surfactant consumption, and the use of a normalizing discourse in narratives about consumer experience. All the results obtained take into account the subjectivity of young people in St. Petersburg who form and implement their consumer cultures.
The study is based on twenty in-depth interviews collected between 2019 and 2020. The participants in the study were young people aged from 18 to 30 years old with experience in using several types of psychoactive substances: stimulants, hallucinogens and psychedelics. In the analysis we focused on the subjective attitudes of consumers seeking to normalize their experience and justify its legitimacy. Their subjective perception of consumer culture refers to one of the possible social spheres of life, where life goals corresponding to the values of the participants can be realized.