Drug Use and Cultural Contexts 'Beyond the West'

Tradition, Change and Post Colonialism

Edited by: Ross Coomber, Nigel South

Considerable research, policy and media attention has focused recently on drug use in Britain, wider Europe, the US and other advanced "western" societies such as Australia and Canada. However, the place of drugs in other cultural contexts has received far less attention. Little is known about the use of drugs in non-western societies and this lack of comparative knowledge hinders a broader understanding of drug use, the way problems are attached to it and the nature of inappropriately applied social and regulatory policies. This book examines drug use (including alcohol) in different cultural contexts, showing how the claim of tradition can persist even while the impetus toward change is pervasive. In some cases, change is strongly resisted; in others its effects are profound and potentially highly destructive. In a world of globalization, western investment and leisure tourism can combine with the profiteering of international drug trafficking to transform traditional patterns of intoxicant use; in a world of post-colonialism, the legacies of past impositions are still causing tragedies; and in a world of western-led drug control policies, unproblematic cultural incorporation of drug use into everyday life and sacred ritual is threatened by remote and ill-informed politicians and bureaucracies. This book will be of interest to academics, students and receptive policy audiences interested in understanding drugs and the issues raised by their use in unfamiliar contexts.


219 pages

Publication Date: 6/1/2004
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781853437434