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'Since the 1990s, drug researchers have debated the extent to which youthful drug use reflected a new democratization of drug use. Michael Shiner’s book will allow us to accurately assess this debate. It is a comprehensive and intellectual study of contemporary drug using patterns. While not denying new developments in drug consumption, Shiner cogently argues that continuity is also apparent. He provides us with an invaluable “history of the present” and reminds us of the importance of the work of our theoretical predecessors, whose insights into drug use are still valuable.'
Geoffrey Hunt, Senior Scientist, Institute for Scientific Analysis, San Francisco, USA

‘Shiner provides a lively and thoughtful reminder of the history of social drug use and sociological insights and a valuable pointer to the research questions we face today.’
Nigel South, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex, UK

Drug Use and Social Change

Michael Shiner|
Palgrave Macmillan (25 June 2009)

This book provides a fresh, challenging perspective on one of the most talked about, but least understood, issues of our time. Using Britain as a case study and drawing on national survey data, Michael Shiner explores the social characteristics of those who use illicit drugs, the broader lifestyle context in which they do so and the way that drug use fits into the life-course. Whilst noting various ways in which the rise of illicit drug use has been linked to broader processes of social change, the analysis identifies important areas of continuity and suggests that recent developments do not constitute the radical departure that is often supposed, The key issues we face today, it is argued, are not so very different from those that began to be identified half a century ago, and there continues to be much we can learn from the past.

  • Michael Shiner is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy and Criminology at LSE

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Drug Use and Social Change