20 Credits AUTUMN

Aims/Description: Drugs are big business and politically salient, yet their production, trade, distribution and regulation are understudied in politics. Narcotics are rooted in complex webs of public, private and criminal power, with diverse consequences for growth, development, security and health. This module explores this evolving panorama: it traces the political evolution of therapeutic/psychotropic substances from the opium wars to prohibition, before analysing the `War on Drugs', the attendant creation of mafia violence, and the emergence of `narco-states'. Later classes address contemporary experiments in legalisation and decriminalisation, the development of licit recreational narcotics industries, and the implications for the global prohibitionist architecture.

Restrictions on availability: Restricted to students studying a single or dual honours degree in Politics.

Teaching Methods: Seminars, Problem solving, Independent Study, Digital content/guided learning
Assessment: Course work

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Politics and International Relations):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK