Smokefree A Social, Moral and Political Atmosphere
Although tobacco is a legal substance, many governments around the world have introduced legislation to restrict smoking and access to tobacco products. Smokefree critically examines these changes, from the increasing numbers of places being designated as ‘smokefree’ to changes in cigarette packaging and the portrayal of smoking in popular culture. Unlike existing texts, this book neither advances a public health agenda nor condemns the erosion of individual rights. Instead, Simone Dennis takes a classical anthropological approach to present the first agenda-free, full-length study of smoking. Observing and analysing smoking practices and environments, she investigates how the social, moral, political and legal atmosphere of ‘smokefree’ came into being and examines the ideas about smoke, air, the senses, space, and time which underlie it. Looking at the impact on public space and individuals, she reveals broader findings about the relationship between the state, agents, and what is seen to constitute ‘the public’. Enriched with ethnographic vignettes from the author’s ten years of fieldwork in Australia, Smokefree is a challenging, important book which demands to be read and discussed by anyone with an interest in anthropology, sociology, political science, human geography, and public health.
"Smokefree is a clever exploration of concepts of materiality, embodiment and sensory experience, and boundary crossing, as well as a challenge to apply our methods thoroughly and neutrally even on behaviors of which we disapprove. - Anthropology Review Database - Jack David Eller Anthropologist Dennis challenges the pervasive anti-smoking agenda of most of anthropology and social science research. Even research that appears to look at smoking from the (recalcitrant) smoker’s point of view in reality is often doing so in service of more finely tailored anti-smoking messages. Dennis uncovers the complexity of smoking in, for example, how smokers experience the trail of smoke as it emanates from their lit cigarettes. Some people tell Dennis that they smoke because of smoking’s now demonized state. Dennis discovers that anti-smoking messages, such as pregnant women smokers giving birth to low weight babies, can be seen as an advantage to women who would like to give birth to small babies. People told Dennis how they mentally countered the graphic public health messages found throughout Australia. Many of Dennis’s findings come from casual conversations with smokers in Australia as they were smoking. Some of the time Dennis was herself smoking, which probably announced to the smoker that Dennis was without judgments. The book’s illustrations and ethnographic content from smokers is effective. Its many discussions of anthropological and philosophical theories make this book best suited to graduate students and scholars. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. - CHOICE"