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Drugs & Society Lecture 1 Notes (1.10.14)

4 Pages

Course Code
SOCL 1295
Lisa Ferruccio

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Lecture 1 1/11/14 6:05 PM What unique perspective does sociology bring to the study of drugs? • Situates the “drug problem” in social & historical contexts—how we define and experience drugs is socially created o By calling it a ‘problem’ we already make it negative • Refutes the “chemicalistic-fallacy” (the view that drug X causes behavior Y) – social and contextual factors change the characteristics of drug use • Focuses on the hidden moral and ideological assumptions; Analyzes what is portrayed as “truths” o Example: if you have only seen Above the Influence cautionary ads, that is your only perspective on drugs Groups and Cultures define… • Appropriate drug taking • Acceptable/not acceptable drugs • Who takes drugs and why • Acceptable amounts of each drug • Which social situations are approved for drug use and which are not • What drugs do, what their actions and effects on people will be -In the air force, sometimes pilots are allowed to use “go-pills,” which keep them awake for long periods of time What is a drug? -ingested -alters state of mind -physical effect Common definition: any substance that in small amounts produces significant changes in the body, mind, or both -critiques: could include other addictions (eating, exercise, sex), also some drugs require larger amounts to produce effects Erich Goode’s definition: something that has been defined by certain segments of the society as a drug • Medical utility • Illegality • Psychoactivity Reasons people use drugs -sick -to feel good -concentrate -enhancement/supplements (for performance) -coping -addiction -escape reality/fun -fit in socially -religious practices -explore the self -to stimulate creativity or pleasure -rebel Legal vs. Illegal Piecemeal legislation; varies internationally & reflects public health, immigration, religious & other concerns Why are some drugs legal/illegal • Clip: white Americans during 1800s were afraid of what immigrants would do when on drugs (southern blacks used cocaine, Mexicans used marijuana, etc.) Race, gender
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