International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Conceptualising Addiction: How Useful is the Construct?
Marilyn Clark

This paper engages with the construct of addiction by mapping the historical development of the social logic of the concept. In view of the proposed embracement of the term by the new DSM V, this revisiting of the literature surrounding a highly charged concept is considered timely. The paper presents a discussion about the complexities involved in determining the implications emanating from the construct of addiction with special emphasis on the issue of human agency. Different representations of the addiction construct are discussed. These representations are located within various models, which frame and shape the understanding and the handling of the addicted person. Constructs of addiction, as they emerge from the dominant disease model of addiction, are mainly problematised. Finally, this paper highlights the continued ‘usefulness’ and the validity of the addiction construct despite its complexities and recommends further research on the career model.

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