Targeting khat or targeting Somalis? : A discourse analysis of project evaluations on khat abuse among Somali immigrants in Scandinavia

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Targeting khat or targeting Somalis? : A discourse analysis of project evaluations on khat abuse among Somali immigrants in Scandinavia

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Targeting khat or targeting Somalis? : A discourse analysis of project evaluations on khat abuse among Somali immigrants in Scandinavia
Author(s) Nordgren, Johan
Date 2015
English abstract
BACKGROUND – In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the use of the psychoactive plant khat is widely seen as a social and health problem exclusively affecting the Somali immigrant population. Several projects by governmental and municipal bodies and agencies have been initiated to reduce khat use and abuse within this target population. AIM – This article analyses the khat abuse discourse as it is presented in evaluation reports describing projects initiated by the social services to reduce khat abuse. METHODS – Six publicly available and formally evaluated khat projects conducted in the Scandinavian countries were found, and these evaluation reports were subjected to a Foucauldian discourse analysis. The “What’s the problem represented to be?” approach was used to generate questions, which were then applied to the material. RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS – The problem of khat abuse is represented to be that it is the cause of unemployment, lack of integration and relationship issues among Somali immigrants. The analysis shows that the notion of cultural competence is used instrumentally to govern the target population and that the Somali immigrant group is exclusively targeted. This instrumental use of cultural competence partly places the onus on the “Somali community” itself to reduce khat use, which may engender stigmatisation of Somali immigrants in general. The author maintains that an overreliance on cultural explanations overlooks socioeconomic issues and that the focus should be on potentially problematic patterns of khat use rather than Somali immigrants in general.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/nsad-2015-0038 (link to publisher's fulltext)
Publisher DeGruyter
Host/Issue Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs;4
Volume 32
ISSN 1458-6126
Pages 375-394
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) khat
ethnicity
discourse analysis
cultural competence
Scandinavia
Somali immigrants
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/19462 (link to this page)

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