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Imperial drug economies, development, and the search for alternatives in Asia, from colonialism to decolonisation

Collins, John (2020) Imperial drug economies, development, and the search for alternatives in Asia, from colonialism to decolonisation. In: Braxton, Julia, Chinery-Hesse, Mary and Tinasti, Khalid, (eds.) Drug Policies and Development: Conflict and Coexistence. International Development Policy. Brill Nijhoff (Firm), Leiden, NL, 43 - 63. ISBN 9789004440487

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Identification Number: 10.1163/9789004440494_004


This chapter challenges contemporary policy conceptions on the historical relationship between drugs and development policies. It uses a historical analysis to examine the interaction of drugs, governance, security, welfare and economic development policies within drug producing contexts in Asia, from colonialism through the period of decolonisation. It highlights that although modern narratives of drugs and development tend to view the latter as new and involving even immediately contemporary innovations for dealing with the outcomes of drug economies and drug policies, the historical reality is much more complex. Managing drugs and development was a fundamental historical process of state regulation, control and the settling of geographical boundaries, both economically and physically. This chapter posits two foundational ideas. First, the issues of drugs and development have always been fundamentally linked, from the globalisation of trade through mercantilist imperial policies, state formation, the limits of governance, the distribution of economic gains, and political economy outcomes stretching from the local to the global. Drugs, licit and illicit, have therefore always been an issue of economic development. Second, policymakers have long recognised and developed state responses based on the above reality. While not going under its now ‘official’ title, many of the principles of ‘alternative development’ have been ingrained in policy responses and limitations over the past several centuries.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: IGA: United States Centre
International History
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2020 10:24
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 05:54

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