Addiction: The dance between concept and terms

  • Robin Room Turning Point
  • Matilda Hellman University of Helsinki
  • Kerstin Stenius National Institute for Health and Welfare (Finland)
Keywords: addiction, Enlightenment, conceptualization, history of ideas, terminology

Abstract

Room, R., Hellman, M., & Stenius, K. (2015). Addiction: The dance between concept and terms. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 4(1), 27-35. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v4i1.199

The paper discusses the relation between a concept of addiction and the terminology used for its communication, drawing on and analyzing historical citations from the Oxford English Dictionary. The history of words used in English illustrates that terms for a concept change over time, often by an existing word being repurposed. “Addiction” as a term existed prior to the contemporary concept, but with a descriptive meaning that did not carry the explanatory power intrinsic in the modern variant. So its use as a word for the modern conception of the addiction phenomenon was delayed well beyond the emergence of the concept. The experience in English of interplay between concept and terms is discussed in the context of two frames: of influence in both directions between medical and popular concepts and terms, and of cross-cultural variations in the concept and of terms for it.

Author Biographies

Robin Room, Turning Point

Centre for Social Research on Alcohol & Drugs, Stockholm University, Sweden

Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, Turning Point, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne School of Population & Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia

Matilda Hellman, University of Helsinki
Centre for Research on Addiction, Control and Governance, Department of Social Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland
Kerstin Stenius, National Institute for Health and Welfare (Finland)

Centre for Social Research on Alcohol & Drugs, Stockholm University, Sweden

National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland

Published
2015-06-22
How to Cite
Room, R., Hellman, M., & Stenius, K. (2015). Addiction: The dance between concept and terms. The International Journal of Alcohol and Drug Research, 4(1), 27-35. https://doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v4i1.199
Section
Papers