Medical and moral treatment of alcoholics in the Soviet Union, c. 1970–1991
Christian Werkmeister

This chapter highlights the punitive and segregationist measures enforced on alcoholics in the Soviet Union. The focus is on the two decades preceding Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost, or openness, in the Soviet Union. Heavy drinking has been widely considered to be characteristic of Russian culture. However, it was not until the establishment of the Soviet Union that the state condemned the ‘drinker’s disease’ of the Tsarist era as a crime, considering it backward, anti-Soviet and alien to an enlightened and liberated society. Like the criminalisation of drinkers, the establishment of a biologically focused clinical psychiatry under the Soviet regime had grave consequences for people diagnosed as alcoholics. People were often institutionalised, criminalised on the exhibition of alcohol-related disorderly behaviour and forced to undergo treatment. Alcoholics were sent for harsh treatment to various types of institutions, such as psychiatric hospitals, prisons and work colonies, and even after their release remained subject to surveillance and involuntary treatment. This chapter shows the interrelationship between the Soviet project of ideologically streamlining the population and the role of psychiatry in forcefully readjusting those who were perceived to deviate from the politically prescribed social norms.

in Alcohol, psychiatry and society
Jasmin Brötz

This chapter illustrates how alcohol, technology, industrialisation and moral concerns were bound together in the case of the German Reich founded in 1870–71. It explores the debates on degeneration and the ‘social body’. The focus is on the call for complete abstinence around 1880. The chapter traces the emergence of science-based concepts of alcohol misuse, such as those promulgated by psychiatrists such as Forel and Kraepelin. Both protagonists provided expert knowledge and saw ‘alcoholism’ as inheritable and also as a mental illness. The interest in ‘healing the nation’ from alcoholism fitted in squarely with the self-perception of Germany as a modern, progressive and rationalised society. The author shows that inheritable degeneration through alcoholism was feared; that economic losses due to alcoholism were accurately calculated; and that alcohol was considered to compromise Germany’s competitiveness among the nations. The healing of the individual was expected to lead to the healing of the collective (later referred to as the Volkskörper).

in Alcohol, psychiatry and society
Comparative and transnational perspectives, c. 1700–1990s

This book addresses head-on one of the central debates in the history of alcohol and intoxication, the supposed ‘medicalisation’ of alcohol from the nineteenth century onwards. The chapters show that the very concept of medicalisation as used in the history of medicine and psychiatry needs to be more closely interrogated, with each case study in the volume demonstrating the complexities of medicalisation in practice: limited funding, state control of healthcare, ideological constraints and tensions between legislation and traditional cultural practices. The engagingly written chapters call attention to the many obstacles and challenges that historians face when they explore the relationship between medicine and alcohol. The volume also explores the shift from the use of alcohol in clinical treatment, as part of dietary regimens, incentive to work and reward for desirable behaviour during earlier periods to the emergence of ‘alcoholism’ as a disease category that requires medical intervention, is covered by medical insurance and is considered as a threat to public health. The book’s broad international scope goes well beyond the focus on Western Europe and the USA in existing historical writing. Despite the wide-ranging geographical focus, key themes are consistently brought out: definition and diagnosis, links between alcohol and crime, the rhetoric of social and economic degeneration, the impact of colonialism and the role of families in alcohol treatment.

Ricardo Campos

This chapter locates the Spanish discourse on alcohol and drinking at the juncture where ‘vice’ and disease met. It examines the medical and psychiatric discourses between 1870 and 1923. During the earlier period, Spanish psychiatrists did not engage with alcohol-related problems and degeneration theory in the same way as their colleagues did in France, Germany and Britain. Nor were Spanish psychiatrists at the forefront in the fight against alcoholism alongside their fellow Spanish hygienists and social medicine practitioners. Until the mid-1890s ‘alcoholism’ and ‘alcohol insanity’ were rarely diagnosed in Spain. The chapter also reveals that the negative signposting inherent to degenerationism was used by Spanish psychiatrists primarily in courts of justice. Only from around 1895 did Spanish psychiatrists subscribe to the tenets of degeneration theory and engage with alcohol as a medical problem as promulgated in French psychiatry.

in Alcohol, psychiatry and society
Akira Hashimoto

This chapter examines the development of medical and social approaches to alcohol misuse in post-World War II Japan. It highlights the major role of the family in dealing with alcoholism. Because of economic growth, increase in national income and Westernisation of lifestyle, the country’s consumption of alcohol increased considerably, peaking in the mid-1990s, but has declined since then. The chapter examines Japanese notions of alcohol misuse and how doctors drew on Western theories and treatments while developing their own culturally congruent brands of therapeutic intervention. Hospital-centred medical approaches as well as patients’ and their families’ initiatives in dealing with alcohol-related problems (such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Danshukai and Naikan) are examined. The latter were influenced by Western psychotherapeutic practices to varying extents. For example, Danshukai, the most popular network of self-help groups in Japan, was originally inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous and North American concepts of group therapy. In Danshukai, family participation and support were considered to be of great value in establishing and maintaining abstinence. Naikan, an individual psychotherapy approach inspired by Buddhist values, was employed in the treatment of alcohol-related conditions from the 1970s. It became integrated into Japanese psychiatry and soon was found also in other Asian countries, Europe and the USA.

in Alcohol, psychiatry and society
A personal view of documentary

The Art of the Observer is a personal guide to documentary filmmaking, based on the author’s years of experience as a writer on film and a maker of ethnographic and documentary films. It devotes particular attention to observational filmmaking and the distinctive philosophy and methodology of this approach. Each of its chapters addresses a different aspect of filmmaking practice, offering both practical insights and reflections on what it means, in both intellectual and emotional terms, to attempt to represent the lives of others. The book makes clear that documentary cinema is not simply a matter of recording reality, but also of analytically and artfully organising the filmmaker’s observations in ways that reveal the complex patterns of social life.

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Edward Weech

Manning arrived in Canton in January 1807. He planned to study Chinese while looking for opportunities to explore the interior. The borders of the Empire were strictly closed to outsiders, and Manning lived with the small community of European traders in a cramped parcel of land near the docks. He experienced something of a culture shock, not being prepared for the full extent of the restrictions imposed on foreigners, who were not even allowed to leave the port area and enter the city itself. Nevertheless, he made slow progress with Chinese, and planned various abortive expeditions into China. He attempted a voyage to Cochinchina (Vietnam), and applied to serve in Peking as one of the emperor’s personal mathematicians and astronomers. The chapter explores the complexities of Manning’s self-image as a Romantic English liberal patriot in 1800s Canton in the hothouse atmosphere of the Napoleonic Wars.

in Chinese dreams in Romantic England
The life and times of Thomas Manning

Chinese dreams in Romantic England tells the extraordinary story of Thomas Manning (1772–1840), a brilliant polymath who risked everything to discover the secrets of Chinese language and culture. A young idealist whose imagination was fired by the French Revolution and ambitious plans for making a better world, Manning participated in the ‘first wave’ of British Romanticism alongside famous friends such as Charles Lamb and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Disillusionment with events in France encouraged other Romantics to seek inspiration in the poetic imagination and the English countryside, but Manning looked further afield – to China, one of the world’s most ancient and sophisticated civilizations. In 1790s Britain, China was terra incognita, and Manning’s quest led him first to the salons of Napoleonic Paris, then to the sealed borders of the vast Chinese Qing Empire, and finally to Tibet’s holy city of Lhasa. There, on the ‘roof of the world’, Manning became the first Englishman to meet the Dalai Lama. When he finally returned to England, he confronted an increasingly Sinophobic climate, and his outward-looking vision was neglected and later forgotten. This book uses newly discovered archival sources to tell Manning’s story in full for the first time. In doing so, it not only helps us understand the bold and forward-looking vision of this remarkable man. It also provides a surprising new perspective on China’s contribution to the Romantic imagination, and the wider course of cultural exchange between Britain and Asia at the dawn of the nineteenth century.

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David MacDougall

In 1988, prior to making the film Photo Wallahs (1991), the filmmakers David and Judith MacDougall had to import their filming equipment into India. This chapter provides a narrative account of the process of clearing the equipment through Indian customs, written immediately after the event. The importation involved numerous documents to be tendered and signed by officials, as well as the inspection of the equipment, carried out in the heat of an Indian summer, all this in competition with other people trying to get similar clearances for their goods. The hero of the piece is the clearing agent, Mr Gandhi, who has been doing this sort of thing for years.

in The art of the observer
Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Human Croquet and Emotionally Weird
Armelle Parey

This chapter focuses on Atkinson’s first three novels. Metafictional, self-conscious and intertextual, they particularly bear the mark of postmodernism because they offer textual games and a feast of narrative strategies. It reads these early novels as narratives of self-discovery, feminist narratives of development that rework traditional forms like the Bildungsroman and the fairy tale.

in Kate Atkinson