Summary of Flavio’s Home

Read Summary

This paper explores addiction as a culturally and historically specific concept, using the general term addiction to cover various terms that have been used to describe addictive behavior. The focus is not on the truth or empirical applicability of addiction, but rather on what it means when we discuss addiction and how it is framed culturally. The paper references Harry Levine’s analysis of addiction, arguing that the concept of addiction emerged in the early 19th century in the United States, largely due to the temperance movement and society’s concern about personal self-control. The weakening of social support networks and increased mobility also played a role in the emergence of addiction as a significant concept.

Table of Content

This paper focuses on addiction as a concept that is shaped by its background and cultural context. It encompasses terms such as “alcoholism” and “inebriety,” historically used for alcohol-related addiction, along with the contemporary term “dependence” in classification systems. The purpose is not to examine the empirical accuracy or applicability of these addiction-related terms.

Our concern is not whether “alcoholism” is a singular entity or if it truly is a disease. Instead, we focus on understanding the intended meaning of addiction and the cultural frameworks that influence how we perceive behavior and events. In 1978, Harry Levine published an influential paper titled “The discovery of addiction.” Drawing from Foucault and Rothman’s studies on mental disorders, Levine applied a similar analysis to alcohol and suggested that the concept of addiction emerged during a specific historical period and within a distinct cultural context.

In the early 19th century, during the Jacksonian United States, it was well-known that some individuals in colonial America frequently indulged in drinking. However, this preference for alcohol was not considered more significant than any other personal habits or preferences during that period. It was not seen as a sickness or a factor dictating one’s actions or life. Levine proposes that this shift in perception regarding drinking was closely connected to the emergence of the temperance movement at that time.

In this period, the temperance movement arose as a means for society to address the issue of personal self-control, specifically among adult males. The emergence of addiction was attributed to social circumstances in the new American republic, such as increasing population mobility and the resulting strain on extended family connections. This lead to a weakening of support networks for nuclear families, consequently placing a greater emphasis on the self-control of the husband/father, as it directly affected the wellbeing of family members.

Cite this page

Summary of Flavio’s Home. (2016, Oct 06). Retrieved from

Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront