Sociological Imagination

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Throughout this essay the sociological imagination is used to analyse the historical, cultural and structural reasons for drug use and abuse. Within this parameter the sociological imagination is applied, using studies research conducted in the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia and the United States. The sociological imagination was defined by Charles Write Mills as a ‘quality of mind’. (Mills quoted by Germov, Poole 2007: 4 ) It is stimulated by an awareness to view the social world by looking at how one’s own personal problems and experiences form a relationship to the wider society. In Victorian society the majority of people believed there was no ‘drug problem.' (Berridge, 1999) The substances used in Britain at the time like opium based cough medicine was commonly accepted in daily life. Sometimes opiates were taken for enjoyment, what we now class as ‘recreational’ drug use. During this era there was no obvious difference between society’s use of drugs for medicinal or pleasurable purposes. Much of peoples’ drug use was used to escape the drudgery of Victorian working class life. However, society was troubled by the amount of alcohol that was being consumed. (Berridge, 1999) When the British settled in Australia, of which the majority were male, drinking was a stand out aspect of colonial life. ( Room, 2010: 151-152) In the late eighteenth century alcohol consumption had halved due to the growing presence of women and children, and later the depression. After the first world war consumption steadily increased until it peaked in the late 1970s, partly because of a new wave of female drinkers. Australia's drinking culture in the early twenty-first century was heavily influenced by class. As was depicted by Horne about working class life. “ Pictured as happy go lucky, Hard drinking, hard gambling, Matey, thumbing its nose at The sissies and snobs in the Lower middle class suburbs.” (Horne quoted by Room, 2010: 152) By the 1960s, governments were planning to...
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