Drugs, Intoxication and Society
January 2009, Polity
- Why do people use drugs?
- What happens when people are intoxicated?
- Are we being medicated into normality?
Drugs and intoxication have been facts of human life for millennia. Across the world, many people use illicit drugs, smoke, and drink alcohol. Yet very little has been written about their experiences.
Academics, politicians and media reporting on the topic tend only to consider intoxication when it manifests as a social problem. This book takes a more nuanced view, and examines drug and alcohol use from a wider number of perspectives. It discusses issues such as the history of drug and alcohol use, the attractions of intoxication to individuals, and the control and regulation of drugs and their users. It also examines evidence for the rise of the so-called pharmaceutical society, and asks whether society is on the cusp of a revolution in psychoactive substance use.
This engagingly written text will make fascinating reading for upper-level students taking a range of courses, including social work, social policy, the sociology of drugs, deviance and social control, and drugs and crime. It will also appeal to researchers and anyone working with drug and alcohol users looking for a level-headed analysis of the pleasures and pains, highs and lows, of substance use.
Chapter 1: Defining Drugs in Society
Chapter 2: Drugs and Alcohol in Historical Perspective
Chapter 3: Customs, Cultures and Experience of Intoxication
Chapter 4: Drug Problems, Abuses and Addiction
Chapter 5: Governing Drugs and their Users
Chapter 6: Lifestyle Medicines and Enhancement
Chapter 7: Drugs in a Culture of Intoxication
- Original and radical look at the place of drugs in
- Looks honestly at drugs and intoxication, removing the smog of
taboo and prejudice, to discover the social factors that promote
drugs use and the labelling of drug users as deviant.
- Examines the full range of drugs – from coffee through
illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine to twenty-first-century
self-improvement and lifestyle drugs such as Viagra.
- Discusses the rise of a ‘pharmaceutical society’ which defines new ‘problems’ and ‘conditions’ that require the creation and everyday consumption of yet more new drugs.
"[A] fascinating and nicely subversive dissection of a universal
behaviour - well worth reading."
Alcohol & Alcoholism
“Interesting, provocative and highly readable - Bancroft
provides a critical text that works as a useful antidote to the
coverage of drugs in more cautious and conventional
Nigel South, University of Essex
“Bancroft does an extraordinary job of reviewing the
relevant literature and he makes excellent use of historical and
cross-cultural examples in building a case for a contructionist
understanding of drugs.”
Robert Heiner, Plymouth State University