Will Garriott and I have an interview up at Points: the blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society in which we discuss our recently released edited volume Addiction Trajectories (Duke UP, 2013). The Points editors always ask their interviewees to first describe their book “in terms your bartender could understand” and here’s our attempt:
In Addiction Trajectories we wanted to introduce readers to current anthropological work on addiction, and to propose a conceptual theme which we think unifies much of this new research. So the book does both of these things. First, it presents several ethnographic case studies of addiction in contemporary settings ranging from Puerto Rico to Russia, to southern France, to West Virginia, to Las Vegas. Second, it proposes the concept of addiction trajectories as a framework for understanding these particular cases. We highlight three particular addiction trajectories: epistemic or knowledge trajectories, therapeutic trajectories, and experiential and experimental trajectories. These terms capture three key elements of addiction: the ongoing debate over what, exactly, addiction is; the myriad treatments available for addiction; and the experience of addiction. The term “trajectories” is meant to draw attention both to the different kinds of movement we see taking place in each of these dimensions (change over time, but also movement across social and geographic space) as well as the open-endedness of this movement.
You can find the rest of the interview here at the Points website.
The best part of putting together this volume was getting to work with such an exciting group of contributors. We mention them in the interview, but for a better sense, here’s the Table of Contents:
Introduction: Tracing New Paths in the Anthropology of Addiction, Eugene Raikhel and William Garriott
One – The Elegiac Addict, Angela Garcia
Two – Balancing Acts: Gambling-Machine Addiction and the Double Bind of Therapeutics, Natasha Dow Schüll
Three – A Few Ways to Become Unreasonable: Pharmacotherapy Inside and Outside the Clinic, Todd Meyers
Four – Pharmaceutical Evangelism and Spiritual Capital: An American Tale of Two Communities of Addicted Selves, Helena Hansen
Five – Elusive Travelers: Russian Narcology, Transnational Toxicomanias, and the Great French Ecological Experiment, Anne M. Lovell
Six – Signs of Sobriety: Rescripting American Addiction Counseling, E. Summerson Carr
Seven – Placebos or Prostheses for the Will: Trajectories of Alcoholism Treatment in Russia, Eugene Raikhel
Eight – “You Can Always Tell Who’s Using Meth”: Methamphetamine Addiction and the Semiotics of Criminal Difference, William Garriott
Nine – “Why Can’t They Stop?” A Highly Public Misunderstanding of Science, Nancy Campbell
Ten – Committed to Will: What’s at Stake for Anthropology in Addiction, A. Jamie Saris
Afterword: Following “Addiction Trajectories”, Emily Martin
And if you’re interested in reading more, I’ve embedded our introduction, “Tracing New Paths in the Anthropology of Addiction,” below. (If you are having trouble with Scribd, you can also download it here).