144. Re-emerging Psychedelic Worlds: Altered States, Altered Subjects, Altered STS?

Organizers:

Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg / University of Vienna / [email protected]

Tehseen Noorani / Durham University / [email protected]

After decades of repression by governmental and intergovernmental bodies, psychedelic substances such as psilocybin, LSD and MDMA are being studied scientifically for their potential to tackle widespread mental health issues including depression and anxiety disorders. Psychedelic science, the mainstreaming of psychedelics (in Anglo-American contexts in particular), and the globalization of (indigenous) plant medicines – most notably with the Amazonian psychedelic plant brew ayahuasca – can all be seen as responses to a variety of crises, including the opiate crisis, mental health crisis, and environmental crisis. Simultaneously, the psychedelic movement is encountering its own crises, seeing its core values threatened by capitalist interests, the tension between science-led medicalization and grassroots-driven decriminalization, and identity politics forcing a confrontation with power inequalities within the movement itself.

STS analyses are essential in aiding and complicating the responsible (re)integration of psychedelics into society. This panel seeks to bring together STS psychedelic researchers in order to address the following:

• Which ways of being, seeing, and doing STS can contribute to psychedelic worlds that are emerging and continue to flourish in indigenous, scientific, underground and therapeutic contexts;

• How the cultural and socio-political dimensions of altered states of consciousness can be studied from STS and related perspectives;

• How non-ordinary states could inform STS sensibilities, alter researchers’ subjectivities and theories, and potentially re-shape the field of STS.

We particularly invite people, presentations and performances that reflexively attend to their form, style and content as necessarily entangled with, rather than apart from, questions of consciousness-changing practices and substances in society.

 More information: https://www.easst4s2020prague.org/

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