Tait Mandler

  • PhD researcher
  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Program group Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV, Amsterdam, REC BC

Tait works across disciplines and scales to address issues of space, justice, and identity, including a master's thesis in progress examining historical property distribution and local autonomy in Quito, Ecuador. They also write more creative and farcical abstract prose on the embodiment of sexuality within urban space. Strongly believing in the importance of connecting academic work with activism, they have been involved in various anticapitalist, anarchist, environmental, radical queer, housing justice, and sex worker movements. Tait hopes to continue irreverently mashing up disciplines and media while pursuing a PhD in the coming years.


Producing Pleasure, Minimizing Harm is a research project looking into alcohol and other drug (AOD) harm reduction strategies used by queer nightlife workers in Brooklyn, NY. Qualitative research through interviews and participant-observation has found that nightlife workers show a consistent awareness of their chemical use and feel capable of monitoring and moderating their own use on their own terms. They want themselves, their friends, and colleagues to be safe and successful at their jobs, goals which are widely considered to be more important than chemical use for the sake of intoxication. Some of the harm reduction strategies already being practiced by nightlife workers include: being self-reflective about their use, moderation and dosing, scheduling use around other responsibilities, only using chemicals at work that aid productivity, getting enough sleep, avoiding chemicals they don’t enjoy, and taking breaks from use when they felt it was necessary. These strategies are made meaningful within the assemblages of relationships of nightlife spaces; the encounters between bodies, objects, chemicals, imaginaries, and space. Tait argues that for nightlife workers, chemical use cannot be seen outside of its assemblage with the production of pleasurable nightlife spaces and that this has important implications for harm reduction. Tait lives and studies in New York City and collaborates regularly with the ChemicalYouth project.