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Historical Perspectives
Historical perspectives
Mark Hailwood
Introduction

There is now a considerable literature on the history of alcohol and drugs. The past two decades have seen an ever-increasing interest in these subjects on the part of historians, in large part due to insights from other fields in the social sciences being adopted by historians and applied to their own field. Historians were once happy to cursorily conclude that levels of alcohol and drug consumption in the past were straightforward responses to economic hardship and social dislocation. They have now learned from an engagement with anthropology and sociology that the rituals, symbols and debates that surrounded the use of alcohol and drugs in past societies can offer a guide to the underlying social, cultural and political structures of ...

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