1st Edition

Anthropology of Tobacco Ethnographic Adventures in Non-Human Worlds

By Andrew Russell Copyright 2019
    380 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    380 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Tobacco has become one of the most widely used and traded commoditites on the planet. Reflecting contemporary anthropological interest in material culture studies, Anthropology of Tobacco makes the plant the centre of its own contentious, global story in which, instead of a passive commodity, tobacco becomes a powerful player in a global adventure involving people, corporations and public health.

    Bringing together a range of perspectives from the social and natural sciences as well as the arts and humanities, Anthropology of Tobacco weaves stories together from a range of historical, cross-cultural and literary sources and empirical research. These combine with contemporary anthropological theories of agency and cross-species relationships to offer fresh perspectives on how an apparently humble plant has progressed to world domination, and the consequences of it having done so. It also considers what needs to happen if, as some public health advocates would have it, we are seriously to imagine ‘a world without tobacco’.

    This book presents students, scholars and practitioners in anthropology, public health and social policy with unique and multiple perspectives on tobacco-human relations.

    List of figures;

    List of tables;


    Introduction: Re-imagining Tobacco;

    Part 1: Life;

    Chapter 1: Shamanic Dreaming;

    Chapter 2: First Contact;

    Chapter 3: Counterblastes and Compromises;

    Chapter 4: Tobacco and Enlightenment;

    Chapter 5: Enslavement of All Sorts;

    Chapter 6: Vogue – Tobacco Worlds in 19th Century Europe;

    Chapter 7: Enchantment and Risk – Tobacco 1900-1950;

    Chapter 8: Corporate Voices – Tobacco 1950-2000;

    Part 2: Times;

    Chapter 9: Host and Parasite;

    Chapter 10: Becoming Fresh - A Regional Platform Against Tobacco;

    Chapter 11: Becoming the FCTC – Global Solutions to a Global Problem;

    Chapter 12: ‘Imagine a World Without Tobacco’;




    Andrew Russell is Associate Professor in Anthropology at Durham University, UK, where he is a member of the Anthropology of Health Research Group. His research and teaching spans the sciences, arts and humanities, and mixes both theoretical and applied aspects. He has conducted research in Nepal, the UK and worldwide. Earlier books include The Social Basis of Medicine, which won the British Medical Association’s student textbook of the year award in 2010, and a number of edited volumes, the latest of which (co-edited with Elizabeth Rahman) is The Master Plant: Tobacco in Lowland South America.