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A Philosophical Analysis of the 'War on Drugs': Applying Derridian Concepts to Racial Injustice
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Abstract The goal of this thesis is to break down Jacques Derrida’s philosophy in order to apply his work to the War on Drugs. Derrida analyzes the complex connection between authority, law, justice, and language. In the thesis, first I intertwine these concepts to provide my understanding of his philosophy and then I apply his philosophy to the systemic racism produced by the War on Drugs. I mainly analyze Derrida’s essay, “Force of Law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority” (1989). Key concepts in chapter one include three aporias and the arbitrary nature of authority. In the second chapter, I apply the philosophical concepts to the racial injustice in the War on Drugs utilizing Michelle Alexander’s perspective in her book, The New Jim Crow (2012). The application of Derrida’s work provides a new understanding by analyzing how the interconnected issues of authority, law, and justice contribute to systemic racism in the War on Drugs.