Book review of "Drinking Smoke: the tobacco syndemic in Oceani" by A. Mac Marshall,Honolulu, HA, USA, University of Hawaii Press, 2013. SBN: 978-0-8248-3685-6

MacLaren, David (2016) Book review of "Drinking Smoke: the tobacco syndemic in Oceani" by A. Mac Marshall,Honolulu, HA, USA, University of Hawaii Press, 2013. SBN: 978-0-8248-3685-6. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 58 (1). pp. 266-268.

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Abstract

[Extract] Simplistic explanations of health, wellbeing, and disease in complex environments often result when analysts retreat into theoretical and methodological certainties embedded within their own, specific disciplines. Such explanations provide partial, and in some cases naïve understandings of how disease is manifest in groups of people across time, place, and space. Mac Marshall's Drinking Smoke is not one of these simplistic explanations—he embraces complexity. He systematically describes historical, political, environmental, socio-cultural, and economic aspects of how tobacco has become rooted in new ways in which people live in the contemporary Pacific. He also describes new ways in which they die as a result. This complexity is analyzed through the relatively new concept of "syndemic": how two or more "parts" of a complex population health problem are intertwined, and through different combinations that emerge over time, manifest in greater disease. In the case of tobacco, the author clearly articulates how it connects various biological diseases across Oceania, and describes the assorted historical, political, and sociocultural factors which introduced and then embedded tobacco there. Marshall describes "a complex, interrelated, multivariate phenomenon made up of both biological and sociocultural parts" (p. 191). Drinking Smoke in this way provides an in-depth, multi-disciplinary analysis of tobacco's negative impacts in Oceania, but also how it has been perceived as a commodity of desire, exchange, and progress.

Item ID: 43164
Item Type: Article (Book Review)
ISSN: 1475-2999
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2016 03:52
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111715 Pacific Peoples Health @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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