Consumption and crime as producers of identity

Consume, delinquent, re-consume. Problematic drinking and the compulsive act of committing crimes can be seen as part of a process of building subjectivity. It’s a different reading of the simple idea that those who take drugs and steal are people who choose the “easy life” or the bad life.

Problematic substance use involves a relationship between a person and a drug, With singular meaning and functions. In turn, for those who also commit crimes, this way of behaving has an implied function.

We observe identities formed in terms of having, with repeated accounts alluding to the fact that “I am” (I am someone, I am important), “because I have” (weapons or substance, ingested or in my pocket and share). Sentences like “When I used to use / when I went out to steal it was different, I felt better, more important.” More “complete”, we could add, understand abstinence from two compulsive acts as the equivalent of a worrying void, An identity crisis and a loss of sense of belonging to peer groups, around the corner, on the street.

    An identity built on drug use

    Not meeting other consumers is a grieving process, An act of disaffiliation, of detachment from the links that he knew how to arm and maintain in this context. They are bonds united by shared jouissance which involves consuming and committing crimes with others, which acts as a generator of identification which makes them belong.

    If a person has felt excluded by their family, school or wider social context, they can, through consumption or crime, the feeling of being part of society, For example under the label of being part of the “dangerous boys in the neighborhood”. In this way, he is seen by society, frowned upon but seen at the end and in the head.

    In the street culture something happens

    Around the corner, in the street, there are socialization processes which have not been generated in other areas such as family or school, by the crises that these institutions are undergoing, because they should integrate, contain, train and end up excluding.

    In the absence of other important people, new benchmarks are idealized, such as the group leader, fellow consumers or the local boys. Belonging is created, which begins to consolidate part of the subjectivity.

      Something also happens in prison

      By conceptualizing the act of delinquency as a way of being (and for) being someone, one might think that the fact of serving a sentence and, as many say, “owing nothing to justice” does not represent in all situations an act of liberation and freedom. In many cases, they feel that “in prison was better”. It’s easier to break the law than to obey it, Give birth to the compulsive act of delinquency to generate new ways of relating to the law and to others.

      As long as social rules and norms are not internalized, conflict resolution is not thought of through the word and compulsive consumption is not considered a health problem, being free in society is not necessarily the same as feeling free. In return, he is taken by himself, by his lack of control, and by his difficulty in setting limits, freed from his impossible to control repetition, so that he squeezes and pushes without elaboration by means of. Without the incorporation of the law, one seeks to transgress it, in an uncontrollable way.

      Drug addicts feel trapped, conditioned to obey a law they are unwilling or unprepared to obey, trapped in their own freedom, with the breadth of possibilities and responsibilities that freedom means.

      Although it seems paradoxical, the breaking of the law is present within the penitentiary system allowing compulsive acts, violence, addictions, among other risky situations not interpreted as such by those who perform them. Therefore, they can allow them to feel free in the penitentiary.

        The meaning of life through consumption and violence

        Consumption and violence are starting to be seen as necessary and valued even more than one’s own health and freedom. Behavioral models and thoughts constructed in the prison context they are internalized in such a way that making changes to regain freedom is a real challenge.

        Consumption and crime end up giving meaning to life and for it to cease to have this function, new meanings will have to be constructed. A holistic approach will be necessary, with implications at personal, family, social, cultural, political, etc.

        Promotion of health, reduction of risk factors and strengthening of protective factors: teaching and promotion of healthy lifestyles, new ways of resolving daily conflicts, modification of ways of relating to others, self-observation, control of impulses and emotions, use of words instead of compulsive acts. In short, without compulsive consumption or crime, seek and adopt new ways of being and living.

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