Smoking Gun Anthropology | Normification of Academic Cannabis Discourse (2014)

Nicole Martensen


Participant observation is a method developed by anthropologists to attempt a deeper emic perspective for their discourse. This method puts the researcher in the position of their research subjects, and attempts to counter the subjective biases of their background. Participating in some experiences, however presents a challenge as legislation and hegemonic influences can differ greatly across and within cultural groups. This is especially evident in the discourses related to cannabis. Currently, cannabis culture in the United States resides in a liminal grey area of legislation control and social stigma, presenting a unique situation for anthropologists. When legality is concerned, admission if experience can affect future career opportunities, as several projects are federally funded. Whether the experience occurs illegally within the federal borders or away from legislative consequences, the social stigma related to cannabis influences the way it is perceived, and what language is used in its discourse. A normification…

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