Conditions of Possibility: Bio-power and governance in the quest for a supervised injection site in Toronto
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Drawing on Michel Foucault’s bio-power lens, this paper argues that supervised injection sites are political and governmental spaces that have emerged from the harm reduction movement as an alternative to prohibitionist approaches to drug use. Within this movement, harm reduction as a “health” policy has emerged as the new truth discourse in which to justify supervised injection sites as the most appropriate technique to address urban drug problems. However, supervised injection sites do not actually function as a form of health care in the traditional sense of optimizing life and wellbeing. Drawing upon secondary and primary textual sources and using the creation of The Toronto Drug Strategy (2005) as my analytical focus I show how supervised injection sites operate new governmental and political spaces that naturalize drug use and the various modes of disadvantage that often go hand-in-hand with it. Rather than promoting health, such undertakings normalize the dying body outside the health promotion frame.