Drug Taking and Employment: Exploring the Employable Citizen in UK Policy

Charlotte Smith, Kathleen Riach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This article extends contemporary debates surrounding drug taking and employment through exploring the importance of economic participation in UK anti-drug policy. Specifically, we undertake a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of recent drug-taking policy documents to demonstrate how key ideological repertoires position drug consumption as the antithesis of economic potential and the productive subject. Engaging with recent critiques of neoliberalism, we develop the concept of the ‘employable citizen’ to (i) capture the increasing regulation of working identities deemed viable or appropriate, and (ii) foreground the connections between the spaces of drug taking and employment. After analysing the taxonomies that connect drug taking and the employable citizen, we discuss how our findings inform the broader regulation of drug-taking policy. We then conclude by examining the implications of the employable citizen as an ideological position and its consequences in terms of influencing policy and organizational discussions surrounding drug taking and employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-42
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • drug taking and employment
  • work and citizenship
  • public policy
  • neoliberalism
  • employability

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