As service-dependent groups are increasingly located outside established inner cities, this thesis examines the territorial and relational politics associated with suburban and city-regional geographies of poverty, drug policy, and addiction services. Drawing on a mixed-methods case study of Surrey, BC, this thesis explains the politics of suburban social marginality through drug policy mobility, specifically the regional mobilization of harm reduction, a public health approach to drug use and an alternative to criminalization. By conceptualizing Surrey as a policy frontier where competing drug policy approaches are mobilized, I map the constrained mobility of harm reduction as it encounters resistance. The political-institutional barriers to harm reduction include 1) redevelopment pressures and policy responses to constrain and displace harm reduction services for marginalized people who use drugs, and 2) a burgeoning private recovery house sector which is a key site of provincial abstinence-based social policy experimentation.
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Thesis advisor: McCann, Eugene
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