Diseases of the Will: Alcohol and the Dilemmas of Freedom / Edition 1

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While associated with comfort and pleasure, alcohol continues to be a 'problem' substance, both for medical and political authorities and for many drinkers. In this broad-ranging and innovative historical-sociological investigation, Valverde explores the ways in which both authorities and individual consumers have defined and managed the pleasures and dangers of alcoholic beverages. Paradoxically, excessive drinking has been perceived to weaken 'the free will' and to be simultaneously caused by a weakness of the will. Valverde explores how the notion of a free will has been challenged by ideas about addiction. Based on years of original research, and drawing on North American, British and other sources, this book discusses nineteenth century 'dipsomania', the history of inebriate homes, postwar American notions of 'the alcoholic personality', Alcoholics Anonymous, fetal alcohol education, and liquor control and licencing.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[This book] is theoretically ambitious and yet it achieves these ambitions and then some. It sets a standard for historical sociology that is frequently not met. Rich empirical evidence and wonderful illustrations tether complex arguments. The book represents a significant contribution to the growing literature and research on freedom and control. In short, Valverde achieves her worthy ambition to understand just what we, in our specific historical moment, are doing." Economy and Society

"Mariana's Valverde's book, Diseases of the WIll, makes a significant contribution that will provide a foundation for all future discussions about addiction and the nature and limits of human freedom and responsibility." William L. White, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521644693
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Law and Society Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction 1
1 Disease or Habit? Alcoholism and the Exercise of Freedom 23
2 Repairing Diseased Wills: Victorian Science and Pastoral Medicine before Alcoholism 43
3 The Fragmentation of Inebriety 68
4 Enlightened Hedonism: The Emergence of Alcohol Science in the United States 96
5 The Power of Powerlessness: Alcoholics Anonymous' Techniques for Governing the Self 120
6 The Liquor of Government and the Government of Liquor 143
7 Reducing Risks, Replacing Fluids 171
8 Judicial Diagnostics: Intoxicated Automatism and the Resurrection of the Will 190
Appendix: The Twelve Steps 206
Notes 207
Index 241
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