A phenomenology of crack abuse

Joaquin Trujillo, Florida International University


The aim of this dissertation is to identify, describe, and explain the common experiences defining the crack abuser's life-world. Its method is phenomenological. Using basic cybernetic premises, a neurophysiologically oriented phenomenological framework concerning the constitution of thoughts, memories, and perceptions is first written. The framework is designed to hypothetically represent the neuropathology of crack abuse within a perspective that prescinds and describes the constitution, flow, and interdependence of experience. After the framework is written, the dissertation outlines the neuro-psychopharmacology of crack abuse and delimits crack abusers as a specific group within the more general population of cocaine users. It then represents the neuropathology of crack abuse within its phenomenological framework and uses the first-person accounts of forty-two crack dependents to actualize a phenomenological sketch of the crack abuser's life-world. The ethnographies afford the possibility of writing a “thick” description of the crack abuser's daily life—one that communicates the substance, order, and subjective and cultural dimensions of the dependent's defining experiences. ^ The dissertation's goals are successfully realized. The framework written and the ethnographies recorded and transcribed, the dissertation is able to identify, describe, and to a certain extent explain some of the common experiences defining the crack abusers life-world. The dissertation concludes that the crack abuser's life-world is organized around three primary and four secondary experiences. His primary experiences include: (1) an almost complete, yet fleeting, satisfaction of the ego's innate insufficiency and sublime, erotic-like stimulation of its core, (2) a fundamental inclination and expansion of the uniquely oriented euphoria-dysphoria dynamic that vivifies and orients the flow of consciousness, and (3) a change in the ego's innate structure. His secondary experiences include: (a) a characteristic aiming of projects, actions, and conduct toward the procurement and consumption of crack, (b) a denigration in the hold of legitimations and institutionalizations on the thematic field, (c) a strict alignment and a contraction in the scope of logical types pointing to the salient experiences within the stock of knowledge, and (d) for some crack abusers, ontological insecurity, despair, and exhaustion. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Trujillo, Joaquin, "A phenomenology of crack abuse" (1999). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9922562.