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Drug smuggler nationNarcotics and the Netherlands, 1920-1995$
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Stephen Snelders

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781526151391

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526151407

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Introduction: The drug regulatory regime vs. criminal anarchy

Introduction: The drug regulatory regime vs. criminal anarchy

(p.1) 1 Introduction: The drug regulatory regime vs. criminal anarchy
Drug smuggler nation

Stephen Snelders

Manchester University Press

In the twentieth century a global regulatory regime supervised by the League of Nations and later the United Nations came into existence to prohibit and control drug use. This regime was embodied in national legislation such as the Dutch Opium Act, which was introduced in 1919 and underwent various changes in the course of the twentieth century. While increasingly more drugs were regulated, at the same time the Netherlands became a key hub in the international illegal drug trade. Chapter 1 outlines the key perspective and argument of this book’s historical investigation into this development. Drug smuggling was a dialectical response ‘from below’ to state policies ‘from above’. Two elements were crucial for its success. First, the organization of the smugglers in forms of ‘criminal anarchy’: the ‘ways of operation’ (de Certeau) or tactics of the smugglers opposed the drug regulatory regime with self-regulating, fluid, opportunistic, and often temporary structures. Second, the networks of the drug smugglers were social, cultural, and historical, deeply embedded and rooted in Dutch society.

Keywords:   drug policy, Opium Act, drug markets, organized crime, Michel de Certeau, anarchy, social embeddedness, cultural embeddedness

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