Drugs and Culture
Knowledge, Consumption and Policy


Edited by Geoffrey Hunt, Maitena Milhet and Henri Bergeron

Farnharm, Surrey, 2011
ISBN: 9781409405436

ISBN: 9781409405443


Current approaches to drugs tend to be determined by medical and criminal visions that emerged over a century ago; the concepts of addiction, on the one hand, and drug control on the other, having imposed themselves as the unquestionable central notions surrounding drug issues and discourses. Pathologisation and criminalisation are the dominant perspectives on psychoactive drugs, and it is difficult to describe drug consumption in any terms other than those of medicine, or to conceive of regulation except in terms of control and eradication.

Drugs and Culture presents other voices and understandings of drug issues, highlighting the socio-cultural features of drug use and regulation in modern societies. It examines the cultural dimensions of drugs and their regulation, with special attention to questions of how consumption of specific psychoactive substances becomes associated with particular social groups – the social dynamics involved in our coming to think of these phenomena as we do – and the factors that determine the political and policy responses to drug use.

Adopting approaches from anthropology, sociology, history, political science and geopolitics to challenge the prevailing pathologisation and criminalisation of drug use, this book provides international and comparative perspectives on drug research in Europe, the USA, the Middle East and Hong Kong.




List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Drugs and Culture
Maitena Milhet, Molly Moloney, Henri Bergeron, and Geoffrey Hunt

Part I. Knowledge: science, medicine, and discourses on drugs

1. Social Fear, Drug-Related Beliefs, and Drug Policy
Ross Coomber

2. Blinding Ourselves With Science: The Chronic Infections of Our Thinking on Psychoactive Substances
Tom Decorte

3. Epidemiology as a Model: Processing Data through a Black Box?
Patrick Peretti-Ratel

4. Opiate Addiction:  A Revival of Medical Involvement
Peter Conrad and Thomas Mackie

5. This is Not Medicalization
Didier Fassin

6. Drugs: A Sociological Blind Spot? A Look at the French Experience
Michel Kokoreff

Part II. Consumption: cultures of drug use

7. Drug Consumption: A Social Ritual? The Examples of Tobacco and Cocaine
Randall Collins

8. Dance Drug Scenes: A Global Perspective
Geoffrey Hunt, Karen Joe-Laidler Molly Moloney, Agnes van der Poel, and Dike van de Mheen

9. Contemporary Use of Natural Hallucinogens: From Techno Subcultures to Mainstream Values
Maitena Milhet and Catherine Reynaud-Maurupt

10. Ecstasy, Gender, and Accountability in a Rave Culture
Molly Maloney and Geoffrey Hunt

11. Drug Use in Europe: Specific National Characteristics or Shared Models?
Frank Zobel and Wolfgang Gtz

Part III. Policy or politics? the cultural dynamics of public responses

12. Modernity and Anti-Modernity: Drug Policy and Political Culture in the United States and Europe in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
David T Courtwright and Timothy A. Hickman

13. Assessing Global Drug Problems, Policies, and Reform Proposals
Peter Reuter

14. Homelessness, Addiction, and Politically Structured Suffering in the US War on Drugs
Philippe Bourgois

15. Knowledge and Policies to Reduce Drug Supply in France: Some Misunderstandings (full text here)
Nacer Lalam and Laurent Laniel

16. The Culture of Drug Policy
Henri Bergeron



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