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(Un)popular Culture and Citizenship – Mapping illicit drug-using in Trainspotting


The principal aim of this article is to explore how the cultural politics of illicit drug-using are embedded in the citizenship idea. Given that many young people in contemporary Britain are identified with this particularly (un)popular culture, it is suggested that geography educators move beyond the traditional core of disciplinary concerns to engage with the vernacular lifeworlds of the young. The article narrates the geographies of citizenship by utilizing Irvine Welsh’s iconic drugs text Trainspotting to deconstruct Scotland’s vernacular geographies, geographies of illness and the nationalising geographies of the countryside. It elucidates the axes along which those involved in illicit drug-using are displaced by the imagined geographies of the nation state. If citizenship is to be reimagined in ways that are more inclusive, it is suggested that a futuring model of geography education might develop pedagogic practices which make use of popular cultural productions as a basis for critical thinking.

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Volume: 91

Issue: 2

Date: Summer 2006

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