I began this paper by noting that the theoretical paradigms we usually invoke in an attempt to understand crime are often misleading and unfruitful. By seeking to understand crime through the vision implied by the normative paradigm we focus upon too narrow a set of phenomenon: namely the ideological structure of social systems or individual personalities. We would do well to shift our vision to include at the very least the political and economic history of that collection of activities which are generally defined by law as criminal. The historical development and political economy of opium and heroin from its introduction by European capitalists into China and Southeast Asia down to its current place in the political economy of the United States has been explored in an effort to demonstrate the utility of refocusing our energies towards a macro-sociological perspective.
KeywordsSocial System Historical Development Opium Political Economy Heroin
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