By Maziyar Ghiabi

This article analyses the ways in which the state ‘treats’ addiction among precarious drug (ab)users in Iran. While most Muslim-majority as well as some Western states have been reluctant to adopt harm reduction measures, the Islamic Republic of Iran has done so on a nationwide scale and through a sophisticated system of welfare intervention. Additionally, it has introduced devices of management of ‘addiction’ (the ‘camps’) that defy statist modes of punishment and private violence. What legal and ethical framework has this new situation engendered? And what does this new situation tell us about the governmentality of the state? Through a combination of historical analysis and ethnographic fieldwork, the article analyses the paradigm of government of the Iranian state with regard to disorder as embodied by the lives of poor drug (ab)users.

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