Addiction and the science of history
Aims To discuss the contributions historians have made to the addiction field, broadly construed to include licit and illicit drug use, drug policy, drug treatment and epidemiological and neuroscientific research. Methods Review of literature, highlighting specific contributions and controversies from recent research on the United States, the United Kingdom, China and world history. Findings and conclusions At the bar of addiction knowledge, historians make for excellent companions-until they turn quarrelsome. Historians' companionability arises from their ability to tell a particularly rich kind of story, one that blends structure, agency and contingency in a contextualizing narrative. Historians' occasional quarrelsomeness arises from their skepticism about the ascendant brain-disease paradigm, the medical and pharmaceutical establishments and the drug war, especially in its US incarnation. These enterprises have put some historians in a polemical frame of mind, raising doubts about the objectivity of their work and questions about the political orientation of historical scholarship (and, more generally, of social science research) in the field. © 2012 The Author, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Courtwright. (2012). Addiction and the science of history: Addiction and history. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 107(3), 486–492. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03723.x