MESA Book Awards
SOAS, University of London and University of Exeter
2020 Nikki Keddie Book Award Winner
This is a remarkable and groundbreaking study of Iranian modernity that explores the politics of substance abuse. Professor Ghiabi investigates how drug use has been linked to questions of modernization, Islamization and regimes of sociability in contemporary Iran. The book highlights ethical contradictions as part of the political articulations that are essential to the maintenance and reproduction of political prerogatives, and preservation of state interests. At the same time, he highlights the limits of state power in containing and controlling drug consumption, and by extension Iranian society. Ghiabi’s book is theoretically sophisticated and methodologically sound, and based on extensive and rich research.