Drugs as Zeitgeist : Recreational Drug use in Finland

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Title: Drugs as Zeitgeist : Recreational Drug use in Finland
Author: Salasuo, Mikko
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Science History
Date: 2004-11-19
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/12321
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Abstract: The long development trends in drug use in Finland are often described by means of a 'wave' metaphor. Usually two drug waves are mentioned, the first wave being the more general experimentation with and use of drugs, especially cannabis, in the 1960s. The second wave was an increasingly more common experimentation and use that can be traced to the beginning of the 1990s. The result of the latest increase was a higher use of drugs than ever before. Typical of both of these drug waves was a tie up to international youth culture trends (the hippie movement and the techno and rave culture respectively), whilst both drug waves are also characterised by occasional drugs use and the central position of the user culture. In the study, the cultural appearance of the two drug waves in Finland is viewed from different standpoints within qualitative research, as found in a summary article and in seven other articles. Thematically, the study starts with the cannabis pattern of the 1960s and 1970s, when youth culture was linked to drug use for the first time. The first article to be reviewed analyses these patterns, and will serve as a historical background and thematic standard of comparison for the other articles to be reviewed, which will analyse drug use as linked to the new party culture of the 1990s. The analysis starts with the history of ecstasy—the symbol of the drug phenomena of the 1990s—and how it intersected with the international youth culture. In relation to the spread of ecstasy, the parallel development of the drug markets is surveyed, as well as the difficulties faced when combating these markets. Following this, the "slower" history of the drug phenomenon is analysed through sociological analyses, with the focus on what forms the drug culture has taken in Finland, how users stood out from the rest of the youth culture and what kind of health issues were connected with drug use. Finally, current forms of drug education are studied. The Study Material Several different kinds of study material were used, and were seen to function at different levels, and it was possible to create interesting perspectives on the drug culture by linking these materials together. Among the most important materials to be used were the user interviews, interviews with the authorities, official control data, materials collected from the Internet, and a targeted Internet questionnaire. In particular, the interview material gives information that can be of use when analysing the cultural context of drug use. The remaining materials also contain cultural elements that support the interview material and raise new viewpoints that differ from it. The Study Results Drug waves are connected to certain periods and generations that attach special importance to the use of drugs and the meanings given to it. Both drug use and the users are mobilized as part of a historical and cultural experience that certain generations share. A common world of experience gives rise to different kinds of social and cultural movements, within which people organize themselves in order to pursue and promote a way of life and goals that they find fulfilling. The common world of experience shapes tastes, preferences and behaviour, and thus influences the prevalence of experimentation with drugs and drug use and the meanings attached to them. In practice, this has resulted in new ways of using drugs and new drugs, the emergence of new markets and a new kind of criminality, the development of new drug concepts, and thus the development of new drug patterns. The informal social control of the new cultures of drug use—as well as their rituals and norms—contribute to determining and regulating drug use.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: illegal drugs - Finland
drug prevention
youth culture
ecstasy - cannabis
Discipline: Economic and Social History
Talous- ja sosiaalihistoria
Ekonomisk och social historia

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