Consuming Habits: Drugs in History and Anthropology

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The consumption of psychoactive substances is as ancient as human societies themselves and characteristic of most cultures. These substances have been central to the formation of civilizations, the definition of cultural identities, and the growth of the world economy. Attention has been diverted away, however, from our understanding of their cultural and historical significance by the labelling of these substances as "legal" or "illegal." The central theme of Consuming Habits: Drugs in History and Anthropology is to establish that psychoactive substances are integral to the construction of culture, and a rich analytical category for the study of historical and cultural processes.

This pioneering collection of original essays explores the rich analytical category of psychoactive substances from enlightening historical and anthropological perspectives. Essays cover periods from prehistory, to the early modern period, to the 19th and 20th centuries, and cultural settingsincluding Europe, Papua New Guinea, North and South America, West Africa and Japan. Contributors focus upon substances such as opium, cocaine and heroin, as well as coffee, tea, tobacco, kola and betel nutsubstances often not recognized for their psychoactive properties. Their challenging perspectives revitalize an agenda which has largely been set by politicians, pharmacologists and social scientists, contributing significantly to the contemporary debate on drugs.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415090391
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Age range: 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures and tables
Notes on contributors
Introduction: Peculiar Substances 1
1 Alcohol and Its Alternatives: Symbol and Substance in Pre-Industrial Cultures 11
2 Coca, Beer, Cigars and Yage: Meals and Anti-Meals in an Amerindian Community 47
3 Nicotian Dreams: The Prehistory and Early History of Tobacco in Eastern North America 67
4 Efficacy and Concentration: Analogies in Betel Use Among the Fuyuge (Papua New Guinea) 88
5 Kola Nuts: The 'Coffee' of the Central Sudan 103
6 Excitantia: Or, How Enlightenment Europe Took to Soft Drugs 126
7 From Coffeehouse to Parlour: The Consumption of Coffee, Tea and Sugar in North-Western Europe in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries 148
8 Tobacco Use and Tobacco Taxation: A Battle of Interests in Early Modern Europe 165
9 Japan and the World Narcotics Traffic 186
10 The Rise and Fall and Rise of Cocaine in the United States 206
Afterword 229
Selected bibliography 235
Index 240
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