White lines: culture, 'race' and drugs

Murji, Karim (1999). White lines: culture, 'race' and drugs. In: South, Nigel ed. Drugs: Culture, Controls and Everyday Life. London: Sage, pp. 49–65.

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This chapter examines a number of aspects of the racialisation of drugs, including culture and culturalism and the depiction of dangerous places defined by the linking of drugs, crime, race and violence. Analyses of the coupling of race and drugs have been well developed in a number of accounts of the history of drug control principally those looking at the USA. Various authors have examined periods when the dangers of, and need for controls on, drugs have been based upon fears about their effects on racial minorities, often mixed into a dizzying pot-pourri of tales or fantasies of sexual mixing, vice and violence (for example see Musto, 1973; Helmer, 1975). Such themes are of course not unique to the US and several narratives in Britain have been explored by Kohn (1987, 1992).

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