Synthetic Panics: The Symbolic Politics of Designer Drugs / Edition 1

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Overview

America has a long history of drug panics in which countless social problems have been blamed on the devastating effects of some harmful substance. In the last forty years, such panics have often focused on synthetic or designer drugs, like methamphetamine, PCP, Ecstasy, methcathinone, and rave drugs like ketamine, and GHB. Fear of these substances has provided critical justification for the continuing "war on drugs."

Synthetic Panics traces the history of these anti-drug movements, demonstrating that designer chemicals inspire so much fear not because they are uniquely dangerous, but became they bring into focus deeply rooted public concerns about social and cultural upheaval. Jenkins highlights the role of the mass media in spreading anti-drug hysteria and shows how proponents of the war on drugs use synthetic panics to scapegoat society's "others" and exacerbate racial, class, and intergenerational conflict.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Jenkins (history and religious studies, Pennsylvania State U.) follows the recurring waves of blaming all US society's ills on various synthetic drugs, from amphetamines in the early 1960s to rape drugs in the late 1990s. He traces the panics to people's concerns about social and cultural upheaval; the spread of hysteria by the mass media; and the scapegoating of marginal groups by the proponents and beneficiaries of the drug war. He recommends a quick rethink before all rights and liberties are gone. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814742440
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of numerous books including Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in America and Synthetic Panics: The Symbolic Politics of Designer Drugs, available from NYU Press.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Usage
Abbreviations
1 Synthetic Panics 1
2 Speed Kills 29
3 Monsters: The PCP Crisis, 1975-85 54
4 Suppressing Ecstasy: The Designer Drug Crisis 76
5 The Menace That Went Away: The Ice Age, 1989-90 95
6 The CAT Attack, 1993-94 117
7 Redneck Cocaine: The Methamphetamine Panic of the Nineties 132
8 Rave Drugs and Rape Drugs 160
9 The Next Panic 183
Abbreviations in Notes 199
Notes 201
Index 239
About the Author 247
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