LSD: The Discourse-Expanding Drug

Shane David Halasz
Communication and Culture, University of Calgary
September, 2006
 

Abstract

This thesis argues that the discourses emanating out of and circulating around the psychedelic experience in the 1950s and 1960s represent a radical departure from traditional modern drug discourses, which are largely limited to medico-legal realms of discussion. In contrast to the clearly defined and linear manner in which rational modern drug discourses have circulated, this study finds that the revolutionary psychedelic discourse is better defined by ambiguous messages, as well as unclear sources of and destinations for information about the experience. With the advent (and ingestion) of LSD all aspects of North American “common sense” understandings of drugs were disrupted. Viewing the discourse through a phenomenologically informed lens of liberative aesthetics, it is argued that the special nature of the psychedelic experience necessitated the creation of new discursive channels and new forms of expression, out of which emerged a new, post-modern style of drug discourse.
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