Living on the Margins: Producing ‘Evidence’ with ‘Feral’ Drug Users

  • Heather Fraser
  • Nik Taylor
Part of the Palgrave Critical University Studies book series (PCU)


Living on the margins is the theme of this fifth chapter. We extend out from universities to consider research done with those who dwell at the margins; research that by being oriented toward critical commentary on the way marginalized and/or oppressed groups and individuals are treated is itself considered marginal. For these same reasons, it also has the potential to be an embedded challenge to hegemonic tropes instituted by neoliberal discourse not least because research such as this deliberately aims to examine the impact of neoliberalism and associated austerity measures in public health and welfare. We focus on those whose marginality can be extreme, those who are stigmatized, discriminated against, and reviled, people considered deviant and likened to feral animals, through their class positioning and their experience of chronic poverty, violence, and illicit drug use. Our discussion is underpinned by data produced from a qualitative study called the Helping Alliances Project (Fraser et al. [The Stages of Change Model and the Use of Therapeutic Alliances in worker–client interactions at DASSA’s Northern and Western Clinics, 2011]), and from more recent desk research relating to the introduction of welfare austerity measures in Australia.


Public Welfare Peer Review Process Moral Panic Profit Efficiency Drug Treatment Program 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Fraser
    • 1
  • Nik Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Flinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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