Essay Example on Redefining Security and Violence

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Redefining Security and Violence In order to comprehensively discuss the effects of the War on Drugs on women it is vital to first reestablish the definitions of security and violence The definition of security in the discipline of international relations itself can be very broad and heavily depends on the context For this particular context this paper adopts Laura Shepherd s definition of human security where it is defined as the idea that security should be sought on behalf of human beings rather than on behalf of states 2015 p xxiv Security in international relations has been predominantly concerned with the security of or between states especially regarding wars and has hence resulted in the failure of discipline of IR to properly acknowledge the importance of gender 5 This paper therefore addresses the importance of what happens in within the state itself where humans specifically women in this case as opposed to states are emphasized as subjects By incorporating gender in the definition of security the embedded nature of all kinds of relations in the international sphere including power relations and gender relations Shepherd 2009 p 208 will be highlighted Violence is another term which should be redefined in this context Violence even in the IR field usually refers to physical violence war in particular However for the purpose of discussing the effects of the War on Drugs on women violence can also be defined as harm or suffering that is perpetrated by institutions as a result of power systemic oppression gender relations and exploitation


This form of violence is known as structural violence where institutional processes consist of patterns of exploitation often leading to the physical aspect direct violence Galtung 1990 p 294 5 By looking at the repercussions on women as a result of the War on Drugs structural violence and how it is gendered will be highlighted Violence has been historically and socially gendered as it is often associated with masculine attributes such as aggressiveness strength which include norms that have been instilled in powerful institutions including the government or the state itself It is therefore important to underscore that certain institutions such as democracies according to Broadbent 1993 Thomas 1993 Moon 1997 Caprioli 2003 routinely overlook social violence and often this violence is against women as cited in Caprioli 2004 p 259 Therefore examining the War on Drugs effects on women allows one to see how social institutions and legal infrastructures do not only showcase their abuse of power relations but also highlight that their enactment of policies regarding the War on Drugs have only exacerbated the issue especially for the underprivileged such as women of color in poverty U S Drug Policy before Nixon s War on Drugs 



On June 17 1971 president Richard Nixon used the phrase War on Drugs in a special message to the United States Congress The reason for this speech was created as a response to do something about the increasing drug deaths in major U S cities such as New York In his speech Nixon claimed that in New York City more people between the ages of fifteen and thirty five years die as a result of narcotics than from any other single cause Presidency ucsb edu 2017 and the government therefore needed to take a more invasive approach when it comes to drug policy However while the phrase The War on Drugs was popularized in 1971 the real war on drugs started in 1914 Drugs have always been an important issue for the United States and the U S government has created many policies in the past in order to confine drug use among Americans In the first half of the twentieth century the focus of these policies was on prohibiting the use of cocaine and heroin The Harrison Act from 1914 is still seen as one of the major landmarks in development of U S drug policy According to this act producers and distributors of drugs were required to formally register with the federal government maintain records of their purchases and sales and pay taxes on these transactions Hawdon and Kleiman 2011 p 353 This law was created mainly to stop the use of cocaine and heroin but according to Redford and Powel t he creation of trafficking across state lines along with state laws inability to stop it was one reason further national intervention would be required 2016 p 519 



Furthermore in the beginning of the twentieth century the United States government had to deal with the use of marijuana On April 14 1937 the Marihuana Tax Act was introduced by Harry Anslinger who is also often referred to as the first architect of the war on drugs Anslinger claimed that marijuana caused madness addiction and violence Hawdon and Kleiman 2011 p 486 which is why the United States needed to outlaw the possession of and the selling of cannabis The act was found unconstitutional in 1969 but it is claimed that o ver 17 000 federal defendants were charged under the act with a peak of 1 241 in 1950 Hawdon and Kleiman 2011 p 487 In the 1960s there was a lot of cultural and political upheaval in the United States which led to a rise in psychedelic and hallucinogenic drugs One of those drugs was LSD and while the drugs was not widely used many Americans worried about its psychological effects as it often cause bad trips As Howard Morgan explains the controversy around LSD use resembled that around heroin and it became a feared drug to nonusers which strengthened the demand for regulating hallucinogens 1982 p 163 Psychedelic drugs became a sub cult in the 1960s and 1970s which eventually lead to the Drug Abuse Control Amendments Casey 2017 The DACA declared certain substances as depressants stimulants or hallucinogens illegal to manufacture deliver sell purchase or possess and it provided for criminal penalties for violation of the statute Hawdon and Kleiman 2011 p 205


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