ABOUT THIS BOOK
- Presents a powerful, original, and controversial argument for rethinking addiction and how we treat it.
- Highlights the flaws in our current thinking, investigates why we persist with treatments that don't work, and calls for consideration of the social causes rather than just individual causes.
'The Globalization of Addiction' presents a radical rethink about the nature
Scientific medicine has failed when it comes to addiction. There are no reliable methods to cure it, prevent it, or take the pain out of it. There is no durable consensus on what addiction is, what causes it, or what should be done about it. Meanwhile, it continues to increase around the world. This book argues that the cause of this failure to control addiction is that the conventional wisdom of the 19th and 20th centuries focused too single-mindedly on the afflicted individual addict. Although addiction obviously manifests itself in individual cases, its prevalence differs dramatically between societies. For example, it can be quite rare in a society for centuries, and then become common when a tribal culture is destroyed or a highly developed civilization collapses. When addiction becomes commonplace in a society, people become addicted not only to alcohol and drugs, but to a thousand other destructive pursuits: money, power, dysfunctional relationships, or video games. A social perspective on addiction does not deny individual differences in vulnerability to addiction, but it removes them from the foreground of attention, because social determinants are more powerful.
This book shows that the social circumstances that spread addiction in a conquered tribe or a falling civilisation are also built into today's globalizing free-market society. A free-market society is magnificently productive, but it subjects people to irresistible pressures towards individualism and competition, tearing rich and poor alike from the close social and spiritual ties that normally constitute human life. People adapt to their dislocation by finding the best substitutes for a sustaining social and spiritual life that they can, and addiction serves this function all too well.
The book argues that the most effective response to a growing addiction problem is a social and political one, rather than an individual one. Such a solution would not put the doctors, psychologists, social workers, policemen, and priests out of work, but it would incorporate their practices in a larger social project. The project is to reshape society with enough force and imagination to enable people to find social integration and meaning in everyday life. Then great numbers of them would not need to fill their inner void with addictions.
Readership: Psychologists, psychiatrists, and counsellors in the field of addiction; public health practitioners.
Bruce Alexander, Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada
"Alexander's watershed study could not be more timely. Mainstream commentators, who are now grasping for explanations for an epidemic of dangerous addictions, will find it indispensible." - Catholic Herald
"This immensely important and original book will completely reframe your understanding of the wider social, historical, economic and cultural context of addiction" - The Scientific and Medical Network
"This is, without a doubt, the most intriguing and painstaking book on addiction I have read for some time..."The Globalisation of Addiction" is scholarly, meticulously researched, passionately critical of the free-market economy, biased, speculative, selective, and quite wonderful...highly recommended...this is one of the most remarkable addiction texts of the decade." - John B. Davies, Addiction Research and Theory
"This fascinating and unique book explores the problem of addiction using a nontraditional approach...a refreshing look at an age-old problem." - Doody's Notes
"This is, without a doubt, the most intriguing and painstaking book on
addiction I have read for some time..."The Globalisation of Addiction"
is scholarly, meticulously researched, passionately critical of the free-market
economy, biased, speculative, selective, and quite wonderful...highly recommended...this
is one of the most remarkable addiction texts of the decade." - John B.
Davies, Addiction Research and Theory
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part I - Roots of Addiction in Free-market Society
1: Vancouver as prototype
2: Addiction1, Addiction2, Addiction3, Addiction4
3: The dislocation theory of addiction
4: Psychosocial integration is a necessity
5: Free-market society undermines psychosocial integration
6: Addiction is a way of adapting to dislocation (1) - historical evidence
7: Addiction is a way of adapting to dislocation (2) - quantitative research, clinical reports and 'spam'
8: Addiction is a way of adapting to dislocation (3) - the myth of the demon drugs
Part II - The Interaction of Addiction and Society
9: Addiction and society
10: The role of addiction in the civilised madness of the 21st century
11: Getting by
12: Spiritual treatment for addiction: the 'fifth pillar'
13: Socrates' 'Master passions' and Dikaiosune
14: From blindness and paralysis to action
15: Social actions to control addiction: question period