A History of Drugs: Drugs and Freedom in the Liberal Age by Toby Seddon

By Toby Seddon

Why are a few psychoactive ingredients considered as ‘dangerous drugs’, to be managed via the legal legislations inside of a world prohibition regime, while others – from alcohol and tobacco, via to these we name ‘medicines’ – are obvious and controlled very in a different way? A historical past of gear lines a family tree of the development and governance of the ‘drug challenge’ over the last 2 hundred years, calling into query one of the most primary principles during this box: from ‘addiction’ to the very proposal of ‘drugs’. on the center of the publication is the declare that it used to be with the emergence within the past due eighteenth century of contemporary liberal capitalism, with its specific emphasis on freedom, that our matters in regards to the intake of a few of those ingredients started to grow. And, certainly, notions of freedom, loose will and accountability stay critical to the drug query at the present time. Pursuing an leading edge inter-disciplinary strategy, A heritage of substances offers an educated and insightful account of the origins of up to date drug coverage. will probably be crucial examining for college kids and teachers operating in legislations, criminology, sociology, social coverage, heritage and political technological know-how.

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And such a view fit well with the classical liberal notion of individuals as free and responsible actors. As we will now see, the coming together of these two sets of understandings – disease and vice – lay at the heart of the rather complex mutation in the concept of addiction that unfolded in the late 1800s. At the turn of the twentieth century, with the transition to welfare liberalism, the notion of addiction shifted somewhat. It came to be viewed as one specific instance or example of a character defect requiring special intervention for affected individuals.

Here, Nikolas Rose provides some help in his book Powers of Freedom (Rose, 1999). Using the governmentality lens, he suggests that a focus on understanding ‘practices of freedom’, that is the practical character of the idea of freedom, casts a rather different light on the concept 20 A History of Drugs compared with more philosophical or ideological perspectives. Rather than freedom being the opposite of regulation and governance, in the sense that government places restrictions on our ‘natural’ state of being free, Rose argues that freedom is actually part of the means through which government is achieved.

A consequence of reckless consumption of dangerous substances? Or is it simply a chimera? 2 ‘Master’ changes in conceptions of the ‘will’ in liberal government Phase One: Classical liberalism Phase Two: Welfare liberalism Phase Three: Neo-liberalism 1. Nature of ‘will’ Will as volition or capacity to choose how to act Will as an attribute of ‘normal’ citizens 2. Governmental role To create conditions in which the will can be exercised To identify citizens with defective characters and attempt to repair their will Will as mechanism for realizing individual preferences To encourage and facilitate the autonomous will of active citizens 26 A History of Drugs I will not attempt here to adjudicate between the psychologists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists and other self-styled addiction experts.

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