Instrumentalisering av äckel

Bajs och betelnöt


  • Emma Eleonorasdotter Lunds Universitet


läkemedel, betelnöt, äckel, knark, rasifiering, skillnadsskapande, medicines, drugs, betel nut, disgust, narcotics, racialization


Illegal drugs are disgusting, while legal and medical drugs are not. This is a message that has long been promoted in Sweden and has become a self-evident claim, even though the active substances in legal and illegal drugs can be the same. What is then the difference between a threatening, disgusting drug and a non-threatening medical cure? In this article, proximity and distance to objects already designated as disgusting is analysed as key to how drugs acquire disgustingness, in line with Sara Ahmed’s queer phenomenology. In the same way as drugs themselves, users of drugs can acquire disgust. To avoid disgustingness, disgust must be shown if a proximate drug, or user of a drug, turns out to be disgusting, making judgements of whether or not a drug is disgusting a matter of human value as well as valuation. If the source of the threatening is placed in previous contacts, a line of affects and assessments is central, transforming the discussion about a certain substance into a discussion about proximities. Perceptions of a corrupt medical industry, for example, can direct disgust towards prescription medicines from the point of view of users of illegal drugs. Medical facilities, conversely, can provide information that relies on assumptions of threatening otherness regarding drugs that are far from Western medicine. Betelnut – a mild stimulant that is uncommon and legal in Sweden – listed alongside notorious drugs such as heroin and crack in an information folder handed out at a hospital, serves as an example of how a drug can be perceived as threatening without reference to pharmacology or illegality. Campains that strive to make people reject drugs to keep them safe from potential drug-related harm, can in this way instrumentalise disgust in ways that relate to constructions of race and class. Instrumentalisations of disgust can thus pose a risk for some, while others are kept away from the disgusting.




Referera så här

Eleonorasdotter, E. (2022). Instrumentalisering av äckel: Bajs och betelnöt. Budkavlen, 101, 105–119. Hämtad från