Kim’s intriguing exploration of the establishment, operation, and eventual dissolution of lucrative opium monopolies in British and French colonial regimes in Southeast Asia reveals a process that belies the assumption that imperialist governments/enterprises were exclusively extractive and largely indistinguishable. Opium monopolies appeared in a variety of forms across Southeast Asia, but the timing and motivation (both stated and actual) varied considerably, in some cases focusing on the moral ramifications and in others, on tax revenue. Kim argues that the path to prohibition was different in each country, and less informed by the post–World War I international political landscape than by the concerns expressed and documented by local colonial bureaucrats. Those men engaged in what Kim describes as an “overlooked layer of activity undergirding high bureaucratic expressions of official knowledge” (50). The book successfully combines theoretical and methodological tools from history, political science, economics, and sociology to dig deeply into that...
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March 01 2021
Empires of Vice: The Rise of Opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia
Empires of Vice: The Rise of Opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia. By
Princeton University Press,
Joyce A. Madancy
Union College, Schenectady
Online Issn: 1530-9169
Print Issn: 0022-1953
© 2021 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2021) 51 (4): 673–674.
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Joyce A. Madancy; Empires of Vice: The Rise of Opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2021; 51 (4): 673–674. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/jinh_r_01660
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