Book Chapter

Substance use, dangerous classes and spaces: a historical perspective



Nicholls J & Berridge V (2020) Substance use, dangerous classes and spaces: a historical perspective. In: MacGregor S & Thom B (eds.) Risk and Substance Abuse: Framing Dangerous People and Dangerous Places. Routledge Studies in the Sociology of Health and Illness. London: Routledge, pp. 14-29.

This chapter sets out the argument that concerns over substance use are always inextricably tied to wider social attitudes to gender, class and race and are expressed through the regulation of public and private space. Taking examples from British history, it analyses how the construction of alcohol, opiates and tobacco as social and public health ‘problems’ relates to the framing of who uses the substances and where. It argues that this framing then shapes the control mechanisms that come to be established in response. Therefore, if we wish to understand how the control of substances operates, and why it takes the forms it does, we need to reflect on the historical contexts that these mechanisms reflect.

FundersLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Title of seriesRoutledge Studies in the Sociology of Health and Illness
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online21/02/2020
Publisher URL…ok/9781138491243
Place of publicationLondon

People (1)


Dr James Nicholls

Dr James Nicholls

Senior Lecturer in Public Health, Health Sciences Stirling