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"It's the most fun you can have for twenty quid": Motivations, consequences and meanings of British ketamine use

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Karenza MooreORCiD


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Whilst ketamine use in clubbing contexts has recently been the focus of British media attention, little quantitative or qualitative data is available on its use amongst those young people participating in Britain's contemporary post-rave electronic dance music (EDM) 'scenes' as clubbers. Drawing on data from in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with 12 current regular ketamine users, this article explores user accounts of their motivations for taking ketamine within EDM clubbing contexts, the consequences (both positive and negative) of use and the broader meanings of use. Each issue is considered in relation to two key emergent themes: 'intensity' and 'sociability' in the drug experience. Participants attempted to optimise the possibility of pleasurable intoxication. This primarily involved participants controlling the quantity, quality and frequency of dose, along with various aspects of the setting of their use, in the hope of producing their individual favoured level of intensity and level of sociability during the ketamine experience. Relatedly, participants drew on discourses of uncontrolled hedonism, compulsion, 'inappropriate to occasion' and 'inappropriate for purpose' usage to make sense of negative consequences and to firmly position themselves as 'sensible' 'recreational' users in light of conflicting, largely negative meanings of ketamine produced by other (non-ketamine using) clubbers, the media and 'official' responses to use. The article concludes by considering how pleasure is understood and acquired by participants through a pleasure nexus of intersecting axes of intensity and sociability, with users attempting to manage their own intoxication in accordance with individual preferences and previous experiences. © 2008 Informa UK Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Moore K, Measham F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Addiction Research and Theory

Year: 2008

Volume: 16

Issue: 3

Pages: 231-244

Print publication date: 01/06/2008

Online publication date: 11/07/2009

ISSN (print): 1606-6359

ISSN (electronic): 1476-7392

Publisher: Taylor & Francis


DOI: 10.1080/16066350801983681


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