The normalisation of 'excessive' workforce drug testing?

Joanna Brewis, Charlotte Sanderson, Edward Wray-Bliss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 'The normalization of 'sensible' recreational drug use' Parker, Williams and Aldridge (2002) present data on illegal drug use by adolescents and young adults in the UK. They argue that it is both widespread and largely socially benign - ie, normal. We contrast this 'normalisation' thesis with evidence of an increase in the introduction of drug policies - and drug testing - in British organisations. Such policies construct employee drug use as excessive enough to necessitate heightened management vigilance over workers, in order to preserve corporate interests. These contrasting representations of drug use inspire our discussion. We deploy the normal/ excessive couplet to unpick drug taking, to examine organisational drug policies and to comment upon emerging and potential resistance to these policies. Our contribution is to suggest that each of these activities can be understood as simultaneously normal and excessive, in an area where orthodox and critical analyses alike tend to be far more dualistic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages15
JournalTamara journal for critical organization inquiry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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