The aim of this new section of the Harm Reduction Journal is to present findings on novel and transformative harm reduction practices and contexts taking place in a digital or online setting, or through other related means.
The background for this section is the evolving digital society which generates new methods and settings for harm reduction and the user voice. The harm reduction approach in this context will mean a range of interventions, some of which will be established methods now mediated digitally, and some will be interventions that rely wholly on digital methods and that would not be possible otherwise.
We think of the digital as a many-faceted hybrid of platforms, devices, interfaces and data driven infrastructures that is intertwined into everyday life. We think of online as any activity that is mediated by digital systems, covering the myriad of relevant platforms from chatrooms to messaging apps to TikTok.
There is no definitive distinction between the on and offline, as the digital society seeps into every aspect of harm reduction practice and users’ lives. The digital provides new capacities for harm reduction services which we want to recognize, and also new threats in the form of surveillance and algorithm-led decision-making which can reinforce existing biases. Digital and online approaches can bridge distances and divides, and recreate inequalities and exploitation.
This section will be a place where harm reduction approaches can be studied in that context.
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