David Showalter

David Showalter's picture
Research Interests: 
drugs, politics, health, law, punishment, "low culture"
Curriculum Vitae: 

I use qualitative methods to investigate how powerful institutions shape and stratify individual perceptions, practices, and life chances across time and place. I have pursued this inquiry in domains such as drug use, health and medicine, punishment, social movements, and public policy. My dissertation takes the case of opioid use amid the overdose crisis in the United States as an urgent opportunity to investigate the links between place, institutions, and health and wellbeing, and incorporates in-depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with people who use drugs, local government officials, and service providers in a range of urban, rural, and remote counties in California. Topics of my other published research and writing include harm reduction services, psychopathy, and reality television. I have also collaborated on studies of innovative responses to the overdose crisis with researchers at UC Berkeley and at RTI International. I hold a MA in sociology from Berkeley and a BA in tutorial studies from the University of Chicago.

In addition to my academic work, I have provided harm reduction services since 2009 in Chicago and California, and currently serve as President of the Board of Directors for Needle Exchange Emergency Distribution (NEED), an all-volunteer harm reduction organization based in Berkeley that has operated since 1990. For more information, please visit www.berkeleyneed.org.

Selected publications:

Showalter, David. Forthcoming. "Epidemics, Crisis, and Policy Change: Spreading Syringe Services in California." Mobilization. Available upon request.

Showalter, David. 2019. “Misdiagnosing Medicalization: Penal Psychopathy and Psychiatric Practice.” Theory and Society 48(1): 67–94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-018-09336-y

Showalter, David. 2018. "Federal Funding for Syringe Exchange in the US: Explaining a Long-Term Policy Failure." International Journal of Drug Policy 55: 95-104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.02.006

PhD Date:: 
May, 2020
Dissertation Title: 
Getting Well: Using, Selling, and Quitting Opioids in California
Dissertation Committee: 
Loïc Wacquant (chair), Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, Christopher Muller, Seth Holmes (Public Health)