June 22, 2017
Alcohol and Drugs History Society Conference
The twentieth century dawned with an unparalleled drive to regulate the production, distribution, and consumption of alcohol and other psychoactive substances. Many countries have developed their own specific historical trajectories of substance regulation, consumption, and user cultures. This regulatory drive continued into the 21st century, where today we live once more in a period of decisive regulatory changes and discussion. For instance in the submission of national regulations in Europe to EU directives. On the other hand, the ‘war on drugs’ is now more contested than ever before.
Global discussions have intensified concerning the consequences, feasibility, and desirability of drug prohibition. Moreover, the rise of virtual communities of substance use defies regulation within national borders.
To befit the context of this global discussion, and to stimulate comparative transnational research on substance use and regulation, the organizers of the conference would like to invite contributions addressing histories, problems and consequences of substance regulation in their wider contexts – including political, social, and cultural developments, as well as responses by and consequences for civil society, communities, and individuals.
Questions may include but are not restricted to the following:
- To what extent were regulatory practices shaped and determined by national, local, or international factors?
- How did user cultures and consumption develop within the context of changing regimes, for instance in specific national or urban settings?
- How and why did substance use and substance regulation differ between periods and regions?
- How can we explain similarities and dissimilarities between regulation of different substances (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, ‘drugs’) and their consequences, and other regulatory regimes (e.g., food, medicine, gambling, etc.).
- How did legal markets and illegal economies, their impact on social, cultural and political life, and trading and trafficking patterns and routes develop in the context of changing regulation?
- What was the role of media debates and public discourses on changing regulatory regimes and on their impact?
- Finally, in light of the increasing availability of digitized sources the organizers are particularly interested in methodological contributions: on availability of sources in general, and on the impact of digitization of sources and the possibilities of using advanced text mining tools for transnational comparative research in alcohol and drug history in particular.