Tobacco in History: The Cultures of Dependence

Tobacco in History: The Cultures of Dependence

Jordan Goodman

Language: English

Pages: 292

ISBN: 0415116694

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Jordan Goodman explores the historical transformation of tobacco from Amerindian shamanism to global capitalism, from the food of the spirits to the fatal epidemic, from the rough pipe and cigar to the modern-day cigarette. This scholarly and comprehensive survey combines up-to-date published work with primary research to provide a systematic way of understanding current debates from a historical perspective. Goodman draws on a wide range of disciplines to present a history that explores larger themes, such as colonialism, consumerism, medical discourse and multinational enterprise. The book reveals the complex web of dependence and relationships surrounding this controversial commodity.

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name of their makers: in eighteenth-century England there were at least 200 kinds of snuff commercially avail able (Brooks 1937:159). The precise recipes were jealously guarded either by the individual or more likely by snuff manufacturers themselves. One Bristol snuff manufacturer presenting evidence to a parliamentary committee of 1789 estimated that his recipes were worth more than £1000—this at a time when the capital costs of a typical tobacco manufacturer were less than a fifth of this

Brongers 1964:132–5). By the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century a brand name began to take prominence over the maker’s name, as evidenced by extant trade cards and wrappings of the period. Not surprisingly, manufacturers of snuff were the first to exploit this early form of marketing because manufacturers prided themselves on providing snuff of different scents and colours (Alford 1973:27–8). Branding was important in presenting an image for the consumer as well as providing

legislation in the latter, and a decisive shift towards the consumption of cigarettes as opposed to other forms of tobacco consumption in the former (Chapman and Wong 1990:23). While few developing countries have experienced a decline in cigarette consumption per capita, it has been the norm in much of the developed world since the 1970s with some interesting exceptions: Japan, Greece, Spain, Iceland and Korea have all seen their consumption rise, in several cases by a substantial amount

been sustained and promoted by a combination of state and mercantile interests; when, for instance, planters complained of extremely low prices because of overproduction and suggested a moratorium on planting, it was the Virginia merchants in London who successfully rejected the idea (Hemphill 1985:93–7; Olson 1983). Second, trade was severely constrained by the legislation of the period excluding nonBritish merchants from purchasing Chesapeake tobacco directly, forcing all Chesapeake tobacco,

and which was destined for the Portuguese market, was processed into smoking and, increasingly in the eighteenth century, into powdered tobacco (Nardi 1986). Brazilian tobacco was, as we have seen, in demand in Europe, Africa and Asia, supplied either directly from Bahia, or from Lisbon. There was also a strong, but quantitatively unknown, market for Brazilian tobacco in Amerindian communities in North America (von Gernet 1988:204–16, 221–39). Like their West African counterparts, eastern

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