This thesis examines how the transnational drug policy reform movement attempts to change the global discourse on narcotic drugs, as well as how domestic drug policy reform movements try to change national discourses on narcotic drugs – exemplified through the cases of Germany and Mexico. It elaborates on the development of the drug policy movement and of the global discourse on narcotic drugs over time, as well as presenting a snapshot of the current situation and the emerging trends in contemporary drug policies.
More precisely, this thesis is an account of how the global discourse on narcotic drugs is changing as states and non-state actors are increasingly contesting the zero-tolerance approach to drugs. It examines shifts in drug policies towards harm reduction and drug law reform, implying decriminalization of drug-related actions, as well as the emerging debate on alternative forms of drug control. It elaborates on how the movement argues and works both at a national and at an international level to bring forth such changes as well as examining one particular and recently evolving strategy undertaken by the movement, namely human rights advocacy in relation to drug policy.
Furthermore, this thesis investigates, in a governmentality perspective, what principles, objectives, values, problem constructions, knowledge, ‘truth discourses’, logics, rationalities and forms of power that are implicated in the policy proposals advocated by the drug policy reform movement, how they differ from and are in opposition to those involved in prevailing global drug policies, and also how they differ from – and are similar to – those implicated in policies at large. It also examines global drug policies in relation to a broader shift in governmental rationalities in global politics implying a tendency of governing through non-state actors such as civil society organizations, to which governmental tasks and responsibilities are being outsourced.