Selections of reality: Applying Burke's dramatism to a harm reduction program
Kenneth Burke's dramatistic perspective is applied to accounts told by staff members working in methadone maintenance treatment centres in Copenhagen, Denmark. As a harm reduction strategy, methadone maintenance is designed to reduce the costs and dangers of chronic long-term drug use by providing substitution (methadone) treatment to users. Burke's dramatistic perspective calls attention to the recurring relationships among rhetorical elements within accounts of social reality. The elements form a pentad: scene, purpose, agent, agency and acts. Our analysis examines how the ideal of governmentality is constructed by staff members to justify and criticize the operations of the Copenhagen methadone maintenance program. For Burke, social criticism involves rearranging pentadic elements to produce new meanings and justify alternative actions. We discuss how Burke's perspective might be developed by sociologists as a critical dramatism of social policies and programs.
Margaretha Järvinen & Gale Miller: Selections of reality: Applying Burke's dramatism to a harm reduction program; in International Journal of Drug Policy, vol 25; 2014