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Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

The Journal of Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues

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Volume 30, Issue 1-2 (Feb 2013)


Female rock stars and addiction in autobiographies

Atte Oksanen Senior researcher
  • Finnish Youth Research Network Helsinki, FINLAND
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-02-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/nsad-2013-0009


AIM - This article analyses addiction and rehabilitation as described in the autobiographies, memoirs and diaries of famous female rock artists. The article shows how female artists portray rock culture, addiction and causes to addiction. MATERIAL - The data includes 16 autobiographical books published between 1982 and 2010. These books were published first in English. Female rock artists are marked as the first authors, and all of the books use first-person narration. METHOD - The analysis relies on thematic qualitative analysis and narratology. Data were encoded for addiction, object of addiction, rehabilitation and type of recovery from addiction. Gender was analysed as a separate category. In addition, narrative strategies used in the books were analysed. RESULTS - Addictions and rehabilitation are prevalent themes in autobiographical rock books written by female authors. Many authors write about their personal experiences of addiction and rehabilitation. Those authors who do not portray their personal problems with alcohol or drugs write about staying sober as a way of coping in the male-dominated rock world. CONCLUSIONS - Rock ’n’ roll mythology is changing. Rock artists no longer celebrate their excesses, but rather write about their negative experiences with alcohol and drugs. Rock narratives by female stars portray social and gendered settings which lead to addiction.

Keywords: Gender; addiction; drugs; alcoholism; popular culture

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-02-14

Published in Print: 2013-02-01

Citation Information: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN (Online) 1458-6126, ISSN (Print) 1455-0725, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/nsad-2013-0009. Export Citation

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