Culture on drugs

Narco-cultural studies of high modernity

By Dave Boothroyd

Culture on drugs


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-5599-7
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: December 2006
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Drugs Trade / Drug Trafficking, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture, PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / Addiction, Cultural studies, Popular culture, Cultural Studies


Never has a reconsideration of the place of drugs in our culture been more urgent than it is today. Culture on drugs addresses themes such as the nature of consciousness, language and the body, alienation, selfhood, the image and virtuality and the nature/culture dyad and everyday life. It then explores how these are expressed in the work of key figures such as Freud, Benjamin, Sartre, Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze, arguing that the ideas and concepts by which modernity has attained its measure of self-understanding are themselves, in various ways, the products of encounters with drugs and their effects. In each case the reader is directed to the points at which drugs figure in the formulations of 'high theory', and it is revealed how such thinking is never itself a drug-free zone. Consequently, there is no ground on which to distinguish 'culture' from 'drug culture' in the first place.

Culture on drugs offers a novel approach and introduction to cultural theory for newcomers to the subject, simultaneously presenting an original thesis concerning the articulation of modern thought by drugs and drug culture.


1. Deposition: drugs in theory
2. Medusa's Blood: Derrida's recreational pharmacology and the rhetoric of drugs
3. Deconstruction and drugs - all mixed up
4. Freud's medicine: from the "cocaine papers" to Irma's injection
5. Benjamin and the dialectics of intoxication
6. Hallucinating Sartre
7. Foucault and Deleuze on acid: freeing thought from the catatonic chrysalis
8. Cinematic heroin and narcotic modernity


Dave Boothroyd teaches Cultural Studies at the University of Kent

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