CommentaryExplaining drug policy: Towards an historical sociology of policy change
Review articleOpen access
Toby Seddon - No affiliation found
2011/11/01 Discussion DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2011.06.002
Journal: International Journal of Drug Policy
AbstractThe goal of seeking to understand the development over time of drug policies is a specific version of the more general intellectual project of finding ways of explaining social change. The latter has been a preoccupation of some of the greatest thinkers within the social sciences of the last 200 years, from Foucault all the way back to the three nineteenth-century pioneers, Marx, Durkheim and Weber. I describe this body of work as ‘historical sociology’. In this paper, I outline how a particular approach to historical sociology can be fruitfully drawn upon to understand the development of drug policy, using by way of illustration the example of the analysis of a recent transformation in British drug policy: the rise of the criminal justice agenda. I conclude by arguing that by looking at developments in drug policy in this way, some new insights are opened up.
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