The Study of the Human Past

“A last drink? Alcohol and Anti-alcoholism in Greece (1870-1940)”

Gkotsinas Konstantinos

Research ProposalConferenceResearch ResultsShort BioPublications

Summary of the Research Proposal

The proposed post-doctoral research addresses the diffusion of alcohol and the rise of the concept of alcoholism in the Greek society from the 1870s (a decade marked by the spectacular spread of vine cultivation in Greece, by the development of systematic local spirits’ production, and by an increase in recorded alcohol consumption) to the 1930s, when the anti-alcoholic literature proliferated and the arguments against alcohol crystallized.
This research intends to map the history of alcoholic beverages during a period when they conquered both public space and consumers’ habits; to explore their different and often diverging representations; to analyze the content, the range and the limits of the anti-alcoholic discourse. The multifaceted character of this particular scientific object calls for the adoption of multiple approaches, i.e. of economic history, history of sciences, history of mentalities, history of everyday life, social history, or yet literary history. In order to address the above questions, I will consult a variety of primary sources and archives, without losing sight of recent literature in the field of alcohol and psychoactive substances.
Thus, through the study of sources and bibliography, the proposed research will analyze the interaction of state mechanisms, actors and natural or environmental conditions in the development of fermented and distilled beverages production; look into daily practices involving alcohol in the Greek society at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century; describe forms of sociability were alcohol was a catalyst; and trace commercial, academic and cultural networks both within and beyond the frontiers of Greece.
The outcomes of the research will be presented during a one-day conference at the University of Crete with the participation of young scholars, and synthesized in an original final paper, while briefer accounts will be published in blogs dedicated to the history of health or to the history of psychoactive substances. In this manner this research will contribute in a thriving and very promising research field with specialized journals, organized institutions (e.g. Alcool and Drugs History Society) and conferences, workshops and symposiums across the world: the study of psychoactive substances. By doing so, the research will inscribe the Greek case in current international historiographic trends.

This research project was funded by the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH), with the support of

To view the conference’s program in Greek and English, click here.

The research results of the program “‘A last drink?’ Alcohol and Anti-alcoholism in Greece (1870-1940)”, by Kostis Gotsinas
have been published in Greek by RCH Digital Library, as part of the journal PIXELS@humanities,
in the volume Research Results 2018: epistemology – space – health – history.

Read the article in Greek here.















Kostis Gotsinas is a post-doctoral researcher at the History and Archeology Department of the University of Crete. He has studied History at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, where he accomplished his PhD dissertation on drug addiction in Interwar Greece. During the spring semester of the academic year 2016-2017 he taught “Contemporary Greek History (1880-1930)” at the History, Archeology and Social Anthropology Department of the University of Thessaly, and he has collaborated with the projects «Open Jerusalem – Opening Jerusalem Archives: for a connected history of ‘Citadinité’ in the Holy City (1840-1940)» and «Entre global et local – L’histoire civile d’une armée oubliée: l’armée d’Orient, 1915-1919». His research interests comprise the history of psychoactive substances, state formation and public health, deviant behaviors and politics of control, as well as social and cultural history. Currently he is conducting the research “A last drink? Alcohol and antialcoholism in Greece (1870-1940)” with the support of the Research Center for the Humanities. He is also participating in the team research entitled “For a history of sexuality in the Greek 20th century: Practices, discourses, and identities”.






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