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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Intoxication and Society

Problematic Pleasures of Drugs and Alcohol

ISBN 9781137008329
Publication Date January 2013
Formats Hardcover Paperback Ebook 
Publisher Palgrave

Intoxicants, substances that alter a person's mental and physiological state, are a continuing obsession. In their effect on the mind and body, intoxicants go to the heart of what it means to be human. In the tensions between 'free' and uninhibited consumption on the one hand, and the pressures of social regulation and personal responsibility on the other, they also illuminate the daily paradoxes, and sheer complexity, of living in modern Western societies. Yet this complexity, and the rich history that underpins it, is often lost in the current debates over public policy.

Intoxication and Society sets out to supplement the contemporary discourse surrounding intoxication with a more nuanced appreciation of the history and nature of what is very much a multidimensional problem. It does so by employing an interdisciplinary framework that includes contributions from leading academics in law, sociology, anthropology, history, literature, neuroscience and social psychology.

The result is a subtle historical and contemporary rereading of the social construction of intoxication that will provide a secure basis for analysis as society continues to respond to the problematic pleasures of intoxication

JONATHAN HERRING is Professor of Law at the University of Oxford, UK and Fellow in Law at Exeter College, Oxford.
CIARAN REGAN is Professor of Neuropharmacology at University College Dublin, Ireland and a Fellow of the UCD Conway Institute, Ireland.
DARIN WEINBERG is Fellow and Director of Studies at King's College, Cambridge, UK and University Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, UK.
PHILIP WITHINGTON is University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, UK and Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, UK.

Medical Expertise and the Understandings of Intoxication in Britain 1660 to 1830
The Expertise of Non-Experts: Knowledges of Intoxication in Criminal Law
Intoxicants: The Formation of Health Expertise in the Twentieth Century
'The Relations of Inebriety to Insurance': Geographies of Medicine, Insurance and Alcohol in Britain 1841 1911
Alehouse Licensing and State Formation in Early Modern England
Renaissance Drinking Cultures and Popular Print
On the Cultural Domestication of Intoxicants
Nudge Policy, Embodiment and Intoxication Problems
Beastly Metamorphoses: Losing Control in Early Modern Literary Culture
Intoxicants and Compulsive Behaviour A Neuroscientific Perspective
Praxis, Interaction and the Loss of Self-Control
Addiction and Responsibility
The Current Law of Intoxication: Rules and Problems
The Addicted Self: A Neuroscientific Perspective.


Intoxication and Society, as the title suggests, is ambitious in its scope. Its success lies in its thoughtful execution.' - Sally Marlow, Institute of Psychiatry, sallymarlow.com
'Due to its accessibility and comprehensive format, Intoxication and Society is a manuscript that proves to be a useful tool in critically analysing and understanding the gamut of social, historical, and political issues surrounding the constant debate involving substance use and its effect on society.' - Mariah Jade Zimpfer, Department of Sociology, University of Edinburgh, UK
'The Editors of this book are professors of law, neuropharmacology, sociology and early medieval history, and hence it provides an array of perspectives on alcohol and other psychoactive drugs. The first chapter overviews these diverse themes, and provides useful guidance for the overall text...For Journal of Psychopharmacology readers, the final chapter may be of particular interest, since it provides a 'neuroscientific' perspective.' - Andy Parrott, British Association for Psychopharmacology newsletter
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