Symbolism and Rationality in the Politics of Psychoactive Substances Academic Article uri icon


  • Psychoactive substances take on many symbolic meanings, and thus the politics of psychoactive substances has featured symbolic elements, or value-based rationality, alongside and often dominating instrumental rationality. Drawing particularly on the work of Joseph Gusfield and Nordic scholars, the chapter considers the symbolic dimension in the politics of substance use, even in Nordic countries celebrated for their societal commitment to knowledge-based policymaking, and its effects on the interplay of science and policy.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005