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Couse / subject= Drugs Across Cultures. ANT110. Writing Anthropology Essay. Essay question = "Is addiction a cultural category a biological reality?' Needs point view, provide backup resource readings. Also -text citation.
The concept of addiction is one of the most debated topics in the present and many individuals have expressed particular interest in discovering the factors that are probable to make certain groups exposed to substances. Addiction is one of society's most pressing problems and it is essential for individuals to focus on combating it through any means available. In order for society to be able to determine whether addiction is more related to biological factors than it is to cultural factors, one would need to follow patterns and learn more regarding what leads to addiction. The fact that the masses over generalize makes it difficult for researchers to get a better understanding of what addiction is. While addiction can also be caused by biological factors, cultural concepts are very important in determining a person's need for a certain substance.
One of the principal reasons for which some people fail to understand the full complexity of addiction is the fact that they mainly tend to associate it with substances. They are unable to realize that addiction also occurs when non-substance concepts are involved. As a consequence, in order to learn more about addiction, individuals need to look at the bigger picture. When considering the fact that gambling, for example, produces similar effects with substance addiction, it only seems safe to assume that addiction is not necessarily related to biological factors. Even with the fact that biology plays a significant role in addiction, one also need to consider factors like culture when taking into account the concept (Johnson 89).
Biology and culture both play an important role when considering the process of addiction. "Addiction is the sickness, culture the state of health; addiction arrives from outside and elsewhere, as a historical or ontological accident, while culture radiates from the heart of the individual, group, or species identity" (Farrel Brodie & Redfield 1). In order to be able to determine whether addiction deals with biology or if it deals with culture, a person needs to have a complex understanding of these terms. Culture was initially associated with caring for something like crops and animals. It later came to be associated with the intellect and it got its primary meanings during the recent centuries, as "it also began to mean the specificity of a local or folk or traditional culture" (Farrel Brodie & Redfield 2).
Addiction has gradually come to be associated with its present-day understanding because of its understanding in Ancient Roman law. The word addicere was used with the purpose of binding-over something or someone and it thus came to influence the English verb "to addict." People have been historically accustomed to consuming substances that triggered addiction but they rarely thought about how these respective substances had the ability to control one's life. In spite of the fact that rising numbers of Americans often consumed opium, cocaine, and morphine during the late nineteenth century, the general public express little to no interest in this concept and one would rarely come across someone who wanted to emphasize the wrongness associated with consuming these substances.
The U.S. was not particularly appreciative in regard to drug use during the early twentieth century. Moreover, people across the country associated it with particular groups, such as middle-class women and war veterans who needed substances with the purpose of going through their traumas easier. The world generally seemed like it wanted to express a laissez-faire attitude in regard to drug use because people considered that users only consumed these substances because they actually needed to feel their effect. The fact that middle class women and war veterans were among the groups who were known to consume drugs during the early twentieth century makes it possible for one to understand the cultural aspect of addiction. These people practically influenced each-other and probably had justified reasons to consume drugs. One of the most effective methods of understanding addiction from a cultural point-of-view would be to look at war veterans and at the reasons for which they were predisposed to consuming substances. They suffered physical and mental traumas during conflicts and needed pain-killers to assist them in being able to reintegrate the social order (Farrel Brodie & Redfield 6).
The British also had trouble understanding addiction during the early twentieth century and people were unable to address its actual effects. Many individuals actually associated drug-use with the concept of colonialism and it was believed that people from British colonies had a negative influence on Britain because they introduced narcotic substances. These people believed that the consumption of such substances could only be associated with feminized or decadent cultures.
Stereotypes play an important role in influencing people in associating between cultures and addiction. "Addiction as a concept and a discourse in modern American culture resonated similarly around stereotypes of the opium-smoking Chinese immigrant, the "cocaine-crazed" and sexually-threatening African-American male, the marijuana-smoking and violent Mexican youth of the Southwest" (Farrel Brodie & Redfield 3).
The fact that a series of practices have an effect on the brain's chemistry makes it difficult for researchers to determine which processes can be identified as addictions and which cannot. People need to accept the fact that substances have different effects on different individuals. Even with the fact that particular substances are especially addictive, certain individuals encounter little to no problems in renouncing them. In contrast, other people immediately become addicted to some substances after they consume them. Smoking, for example, is one of the most common forms of addiction and nicotine is considered to be extremely addictive. Despite this, many individuals who observe the substance's harmful effects are unable to quit smoking while others can stop smoking whenever they want to do so (Johnson 89).
Some people are predisposed to becoming addicted because they have addictive personalities. The masses thus need to understand that "what we call addiction are actually syndromes of dependence that have multiple triggers and pathways, ranging from the cultural to the organic, but are probably informed by a combination that we might label as "cultural biology" (Johnson 89). Many addicts thus fall victim to drug-use without knowing that they actually have a condition that makes it probable for them to become addicts. "The influence of culture is a strong determinant of whether or not individuals fall prey to certain addictions" (Rassool 56).
Cultures where religion dominates people's thinking are more probable to contain less addiction cases, considering that individuals belonging to these groups are constantly bombarded with information concerning the wrongness related to using substances. In contrast, the social rules and protocol present in some cultures can encourage people in perceiving substances as a social catalyst. These people are actually likely to be raised in a community that promotes moderate substance consume. Considering this, it only seems natural for some people to be predisposed to substance abuse, as while particular groups harshly criticize the practice, others support it and believe that there is nothing wrong with consuming substances. This is probably one of the principal reasons for which the concept of addiction is divisive. What some people perceive as being addiction can be considered to be perfectly normal for others. Even with this, there are numerous other factors influencing addiction in some groups (Rassool 56).
Addiction is also known to be an effect of immigration and poor economic conditions. People who leave their countries or who are underprivileged are probable to experience depression and difficulty in integrating society. This exposes them to a series of problems, with addiction being one of these respective issues. There are a series of other factors that can have an important influence on people's probability to turn…[continue]
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