Conference: Pop Cultures and Ecstatic States of the Body, 1950s-1980s
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
September 30 – October 2, 2021
In September 1967, the British weekly New Society published an article entitled “Pot, pop and acid.” As the title indicates, the author closely related pop music to the use of intoxicating substances: “Everyone knows that almost everyone in pop music smokes pot: has done, and will do.” Also, Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, a German music producer and the main organizer of the Internationale Essener Songtage 1968, construed a close relation between pop culture and states of ecstasy. For him, the use of psychedelics, on the one hand, constituted a driving force for the creation and the spread of certain types of music. On the other hand, he attributed to pop music and pop cultural settings (for instance, concerts and festivals) the potential to create ecstatic states of the body.
(Editors Note: This post was written by Dr. Lucas Richert, a lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan.)
In recent years, the modification of marijuana laws in the United States, multiple doping scandals in professional sports (from Lance Armstrong to A-Rod), and the right-to-die debate have helped focus the public’s attention on drugs. At the same time, academia, policy-makers and interest groups all have a need for superior information about the complex role that recreational drugs and pharmaceutical products play in our lives.
According to Alan Leshner, “There is a unique disconnect between the scientific facts and the public’s perception about drug abuse and addiction. If we are going to make any progress, we need to overcome the ‘great disconnect.’”
Progress, whatever that meant for Leshner, will certainly be accompanied by a public discussion. And psychiatrists will continue to play a major role in shaping our understanding of drugs.