Chapter 28 The making of the epistemic project of addiction in the brain


In this chapter the making of addiction as a matter of the brain is followed through in three empirical examples using three different theoretical approaches. Each example involves a use context for communicating the epistemic project of addiction in the brain (EPAB): out-patient treatment, mass media narratives, and scientific articles on substance use prevention programs. The aim is to shed light on the many context-bound use functions of the EPAB.

In an ontopolitically informed analysis of clients in addiction treatment, the EPAB is shown to play a role for logically ordering experience of addiction realities. In a cultural theory informed analysis of online media coverage of progress in research, the EPAB materialized in narratives that gave hope of a shift from messy addiction realities to cleaner biomedically informed realities which appeared solvable. In a system theory informed discussion on addiction prevention programs, the EPAB was shown to pave the way for strategies for identifying risk factors and measuring the outcomes of interventions.

As a whole, the study underscores the symbolic value of neuroscientific knowledge on addiction. It shows the importance of a plurality of addiction epistemologies and ontologies in order to meet the needs of multiple contexts, situations and stakeholders.


Matilda Hellman - ORCiD:

Michael Egerer - ORCiD:


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