Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

“Once a Junkie, Always a Junkie”: A Narrative Analysis of Cinematic Representations of the Attribution of Criminality and Deviancy to Heroin Users

Version 1 : Received: 5 May 2018 / Approved: 7 May 2018 / Online: 7 May 2018 (11:05:31 UTC)

How to cite: Allen, C.; Alberici, A. “Once a Junkie, Always a Junkie”: A Narrative Analysis of Cinematic Representations of the Attribution of Criminality and Deviancy to Heroin Users. Preprints 2018, 2018050115 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201805.0115.v1). Allen, C.; Alberici, A. “Once a Junkie, Always a Junkie”: A Narrative Analysis of Cinematic Representations of the Attribution of Criminality and Deviancy to Heroin Users. Preprints 2018, 2018050115 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201805.0115.v1).

Abstract

This article responds to an identified and significant gap in the existing scholarly canon to consider the extent to which cinematic representations construct heroin users—the ‘junkie’—as a criminalised ‘Other’ which confer legitimacy on the notion that such are criminogenic and deviant. Positioned within the disciplinary bounds of cultural criminology, this article focuses on five films - Sid and Nancy (1986); The Basketball Diaries (1995); Trainspotting (1996); Requiem for a Dream (2000); and, T2 Trainspotting (2017). Drawing together Hall’s (1997) theories of representation and Hjelm’s (2014) theories of social constructionism, the findings from a narrative analysis of each of the films—individually and comparatively—explores the following themes, junkies: as criminogenic; as dangerous underclass; as embodying decay and depravity; and in relation to female junkies, as junkie whores. In doing so, this article elucidates new thinking and ideas about cinematic representations of junkies and how this shapes and influences social norms and mores.

Subject Areas

heroin users; junkies; cinematic representations; social constructionism; cultural criminology

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