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Franca Beccaria & Franco Prina

In: The SAGE Handbook of Drug and Alcohol Studies

Chapter 3: Sociological Perspectives

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Sociological Perspectives
Sociological perspectives
Franca BeccariaFranco Prina

Studying drugs and alcohol from a sociological perspective means looking at the relationship between individuals, groups of individuals and psychoactive substances in the context of the social, economic and cultural conditions that inform this relationship. The sociology of drugs and alcohol is closely related to other disciplinary approaches: epidemiology (measurement of drug and alcohol related behaviour), psychology (attention to individually ascribed meanings associated with drug and alcohol practices), anthropology (the socio-contextual meanings of psychoactive substances and the ‘functions’ that they can fulfil) and criminology (crimes related to the consumption, production and distribution of illegal substances and the role of control institutions). However, in this chapter we will attempt to illustrate the sociological approach in the fields of alcohol and ...

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