Central and East European
Society for Phenomenology

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Understanding addiction

a threefold phenomenological approach

Ion Copoeru(Babeș-Bolyai University)

pp. 335-349


There are many ways of interpreting the behaviours related to substance misuse and addiction, which can be sort out as three basic models: biomedical, legal, and social. They are corresponding to approaches built in different epistemic and professional frameworks, such as medicine, law, and social work. Confronted with the experience of addiction, these models appear as pre-determined by a specific scientific or professional ideology; they presuppose a pre-understanding of the phenomena. I directed, therefore, my investigation on those phenomenological paths that might lead to, and circumscribe the experience of addiction and I propose an analytical framework based on three major phenomenological perspectives: descriptive, genetic, and inter-relational. This paper argues in favour of defining addiction without making reference to a form of failure, psycho-somatic or existential. On the contrary, it concludes that there is a need to adopt a definition of addiction which holds at its core the idea of empowering addicted persons, of re-constructing their capacity to take decisions about their own lives.

Publication details

Published in:

(2014). Human Studies 37 (3).

Pages: 335-349

DOI: 10.1007/s10746-013-9307-8

Full citation:

Copoeru Ion (2014). Understanding addiction: a threefold phenomenological approach. Human Studies 37 (3), pp. 335-349.