Smoking in British popular culture 1800-2000

By Matthew Hilton

Smoking in British popular culture 1800-2000

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-5257-6
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £18.99
  • Published Date: May 2000
  • BIC Category: Humanities / History, Humanities / British & Irish history, Humanities / Social & cultural history, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, HISTORY / Social History, History, European history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History, Modern History
  • Series: Studies in Popular Culture


A concise history of smoking in British popular culture from the early nineteenth century to the present day.. Provides the historical backdrop to the current debates about the politics of tobacco and health, demonstrating that both pro- and anti-smokers have consistently failed to understand the position of smoking within popular culture.. Important themes explored include: the importance of consumption to constructions of masculinity and femininity, the role of the state in the official regulation of the 'minor vices', the morality of consumption and the position of scientific knowledge within popular culture.. Traces the production, promotion and consumption of tobacco as well as outlining the arguments that have variously opposed this ever-controversial drug.. Genuinely interdisciplinary, combining elements of social, cultural and economic history whilst contributing to debates in sociology and cultural studies, the anthropology of material culture, design history, medical history and public health policy.


Section A: Culture- the pipe and the cigar in Victorian Britain
1. Good companions: bourgeois man and the divine Lady Nicotine
2. Vanity Fair: a panoply of Victorian smokers
3. The evils of smoking in the Victorian anti-tabacco movement
Section B: Economy: the cigarette and the mass market in the early twentieth century
4. 'Players Please': the cigrarette and the mass market
5. Man and his Cigarette: masculinity and the mass market
6. Consuming the unrespectable: smoking and femininity
7. Juvenile smoking and 'the feverish anxiety to become a man'
Section C: Science - cancer and the politics of smoking since 1950
8. Smoking and health: the medical understanding of tabacco
9. The presentation of medical knowledge in the media
10. 'It never did me any harm': science in culture
Conclusion, or 'why lighting up is cool again'.


Matthew Hilton is Lecturer in Social History at the University of Birmingham

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