This article considers the ways in which Italian scholars conceptualized alcohol and drug addiction between 1860 and 1930. Based on the analysis of more than 40 books and 5 scientific journals (112 issues), it is argued that in the period 1860-1930, scholars were more interested in alcohol than any other substance. Indeed “alcoholism’ was the term used the most to describe alcohol problems, although its meaning changed over time. At the beginning of the period alcoholism was seen as a consequence of drunkenness, later on its definition became more precise, including both physical/pathogenic factors and the addictive power of alcoholic beverages. In contrast, the debate about drugs involved fewer scientists and their description of the topic was divided between poisoning and addiction. There was an evolution in the definition of addiction-related concepts and also a heated exchange of conflicting views among scholars. In the scientific debate experts with various backgrounds such as jurisprudence, forensic science, criminal anthropology, sociology and different medical specialties were all involved. This article highlights the vitality of interest among the Italian scientific community regarding addiction themes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Beccaria, F., Petrilli, E. (2014). The Complexity of Addiction: Conceptions of Alcohol and Drug Addiction among Italian Scholars, 1860s-1930s. THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF ALCOHOL AND DRUGS, 28(1), 34-56.

The Complexity of Addiction: Conceptions of Alcohol and Drug Addiction among Italian Scholars, 1860s-1930s

PETRILLI, ENRICO
Secondo
2014

Abstract

This article considers the ways in which Italian scholars conceptualized alcohol and drug addiction between 1860 and 1930. Based on the analysis of more than 40 books and 5 scientific journals (112 issues), it is argued that in the period 1860-1930, scholars were more interested in alcohol than any other substance. Indeed “alcoholism’ was the term used the most to describe alcohol problems, although its meaning changed over time. At the beginning of the period alcoholism was seen as a consequence of drunkenness, later on its definition became more precise, including both physical/pathogenic factors and the addictive power of alcoholic beverages. In contrast, the debate about drugs involved fewer scientists and their description of the topic was divided between poisoning and addiction. There was an evolution in the definition of addiction-related concepts and also a heated exchange of conflicting views among scholars. In the scientific debate experts with various backgrounds such as jurisprudence, forensic science, criminal anthropology, sociology and different medical specialties were all involved. This article highlights the vitality of interest among the Italian scientific community regarding addiction themes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
addiction; alcohol and other drugs; tobacco, Lombroso
English
34
56
23
Beccaria, F., Petrilli, E. (2014). The Complexity of Addiction: Conceptions of Alcohol and Drug Addiction among Italian Scholars, 1860s-1930s. THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF ALCOHOL AND DRUGS, 28(1), 34-56.
Beccaria, F; Petrilli, E
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/90926
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