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Title: The London drug culture, c. 1926-1966
Author: Hicks , Elliott R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 4022
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2015
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'The London Drug Culture, c. 1926-1966' is the first historical study of metropolitan drug-use in mid-twentieth-century Britain. This thesis challenges orthodox historical understandings of the development of metropolitan drug-use during the twentieth-century which - focusing upon the events of the 1960s - characterise the phenomenon in terms of rupture, detailing the gradual coalescence of a complex and multifaceted drug culture within central London over the course of these decades. This drug culture, I demonstrate, was both profoundly urban and transnational in its structure and organisation: the coteries of drug-users which crystallised within the capital during the mid-twentieth-century were simultaneously situated within specific spaces of the city, and" within discrete transnational networks of the drug culture. Additionally, this study analyses the narratives of the London drug culture which emerged during this period, seeking to locate and identify the historical roots of these representations, to deconstruct them, and to analyse how they shifted in form during the course of the mid- twentieth-century. Narratives of the metropolitan drug culture, I contend, constituted a site in British culture in which both gendered and racial 'Others' were constructed in opposition to notions of Britain and Britishness. Finally, this thesis charts the construction of an apparatus of drug control from the 1920s, analysing the manner in which this regulatory system was operationalised at ground-level in the capital by its various interlocutors - principally the Metropolitan Police - and detailing how these practices became bound up within the institutional politics of law enforcement. The regulation of the London drug culture, I argue, was productive: both of official knowledge regarding the phenomenon, and of new identities and ways of being. In this study, then, the London drug culture is conceived of as a prism through which the historian might trace the formation of British modernities in this period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available