Cocaine in Perspective

  1. Gregory R. Bock Organizer and
  2. Julie Whelan
  1. Griffith Edwards Chairman

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514245.ch1

Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions

Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions

How to Cite

Edwards, G. (2007) Cocaine in Perspective, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions (eds G. R. Bock and J. Whelan), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514245.ch1

Author Information

  1. Addiction Research Unit, National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Addiction Sciences Building, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471931799

Online ISBN: 9780470514245

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Keywords:

  • cocaine;
  • benjamin ward richardson;
  • ethnological knowledge;
  • social science medicine;
  • rats as laboratory animals

Summary

In a medical text published in 1883, Dr Benjamin Ward Richardson FRS denounced the evils of tea drinking, suggesting that it commonly gave rise to an ‘Extremely nervous semi-hysterical condition’. That this distinguished Victorian physician could take such a view invites a sensitivity toward the perspective within which any debate on drugs is conducted—the historical, cultural and professional assumptions which will colour views as to what needs to be explained and how explanation is to be accomplished. The reality and significance of ‘perspective’ is further illustrated by examples drawn from contemporary literature which contrast the laboratory and social science approaches to study of cocaine. No one narrow disciplinary perspective on the cocaine problem will suffice; the challenge is to build bridges.