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Drink, Power, and Cultural Change: A Social History of Alcohol in Ghana, c. 1800 to Recent Times / Edition 1

Drink, Power, and Cultural Change: A Social History of Alcohol in Ghana, c. 1800 to Recent Times / Edition 1

by Emmanuel AkyeampongEmmanuel Akyeampong


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    [This book] is well-written, accessible to a variety of readers, thoroughly researched, original in approach and insight, and broad in its implications. . . . Akyeampong takes very seriously the challenge of conceiving African history in terms of indigenous intellectual categories and in terms of the experience of those involved. Real people come to life in these pages....
    - Charles Ambler, University of Texas

Drink, Power, and Cultural Change presents a social history of alcohol in southern Ghana over the past century and a half and highlights its centrality in the culture of power. Alcohol could bridge the gap between the spiritual and living worlds, as the blessings of the gods and ancestors were necessary for success. This made alcohol an indispensable fluid, access to which was highly contested. Liquor revenues were critical for British colonialism, while protests against liquor regulations formed a significant part of local politics and drinking bars were hotbeds of nationalist agitation.

Akyeampong's innovative analysis blends the disciplinary approaches of history, anthropology, social medicine, theology, and political science. A wide variety of sources forms the basis of his study, including proverbs, highlife music, comic opera, popular literature, and photographs in addition to the more familiar colonial and missionary archives and oral tradition. Drink, Power, and Cultural Change presents a novel lens through which to examine African social history, and its concern with questions of ritual, gender, power, and health gives it a very broad appeal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780435089962
Publisher: Heinemann
Publication date: 11/18/1996
Series: Social History of Africa Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 189
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.86(h) x 0.44(d)

About the Author

Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong completed his Ph.D. in African history at the University of Virginia in 1993, and is assistant professor of history at Harvard University. His articles on the social and cultural history of Ghana have appeared in Histoire Sociale; Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry; the International Journal of African Historical Studies; and the Journal of African History.

Table of Contents


1. Order over Unorder: Alcohol, Autonomy, and Power in Ghana

Alcohol, Ritual, and Power among the Akan, Ga-Adangme, and Ewe in Precolonial Southern Gold Coast

Urban Migrants, Social Drinking, and the Struggle for Social Space: The Young Men's Challenge, c. 1890-1919

Negotiating the Colonial Agenda: Temperance Politics and Liquor Legislation in the Gold Coast, 1919-1930

What's in a Drink? Popular Culture, Class Formation, and the Politics of Akpeteshie, 1930-1945

Alcohol, Popular Culture, and Nationalist Politics

A Living Death: Individualism, Alcoholism, and Survival in Independent Ghana

Epilogue: Alcohol, Spirituality, and Power

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