UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Teenage kicks : youth, social class, and hierarchies of taste in Canada’s new drug scene, 1961-1975 Fenn, Robert Samuel


This thesis explores the political discourse around the increased use of illicit substances in Canada from 1961 to 1975. In particular, marijuana had been criminalized—along with opium—as a part of a broader move to penalize unwanted Asian workers. At the time, lawmakers could not anticipate that their laws would also fall on a new wave of predominantly affluent and white drug users. When judges began to find more and more middle class young people in their courtrooms, the country found itself in crisis. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of habitus, social class and symbolic violence, this paper argues that affluent marijuana smokers seriously challenged the logic of Canada’s laws by occupying new psychoactive terrain, while simultaneously, establishing a new hierarchy of taste and consumption that disadvantaged other less privileged drug users. 

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada