This book is a first major attempt to examine what might be involved in consistently applying social understandings to addictions. Traditional approaches are dominated by what the book refers to as particle perspectives in which the focus narrows down to the person experiencing the addiction. Despite decades of research and development, particle-derived intervention approaches have yielded marginal gains in reducing levels of addiction. A shift in orientation may open up new possibilities. A social perspective shifts from thinking in terms of particles to viewing a person in terms of relationships. People become, in many ways, defined by the array of connections that comprise their social world. The reorientation generates interesting new opportunities for explanation and intervention.

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