Intoxication and bad behaviour: understanding cultural differences in the link.
ABSTRACT Research developments since the appearance of MacAndrew and Edgerton's landmark volume, Drunken Comportment (1969), are summarized. The challenge of moving beyond the book is to understand what lies behind cultural variations in drunken comportment. Four specific factors in variations in drunken comportment are discussed. (1) A common contrast is between "wet" societies, where drinking is banalized everyday, and "dry" societies, where alcohol is set apart as a special commodity. Problems with this contrast are discussed, and the need for cross-cultural studies comparing expectancies from intoxication. (2) There is a need to study variations in the definition of intoxication as a "time out" state. In some societies, intoxication is likened to possession by spirits; a rationalistic version of this can be found in Canadian court decisions viewing extreme intoxication as potentially "akin to automatism". (3) If bad behaviour is a foreseeable consequence of drinking, why do some societies nevertheless not hold the drinker responsible'? In Anglo-American and similar societies, drunkenness has some excuse value, but it is not a very good excuse. Compromises like this seem to be found also in other cultures. (4) Pseudointoxication is fairly widespread, and seems to mark social situations where alcohol has enhanced excuse value. It appears to be a stratagem of the weaker side across cultural boundaries, and of the young where age-grading favours older groups. Concerning the possibility of cultural changes in drunken comportment, it is argued that there are historical examples, but such a shift requires a substantial social change.
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ABSTRACT: There has been a shift in the most recent UK Government’s Alcohol Strategy (2012) from personal responsibility towards a model of shared responsibility for young 10 people’s drinking. On closer examination of the strategy, however, it appears that rather than exonerating young people from blame, governance is merely extended to include wider partners. Using findings from nine focus groups with young people in Liverpool, UK, we explore who they believe are responsible for their drinking behaviours and how they learn to become ‘good drinkers’. Our findings show that while teenagers were aware of dominant alcohol-related messages and maintained a moral position as responsible citizens; they also negotiated and resisted norms about teenage drinking. Although both boys and girls agreed that parents were the primary responsible authority for regulating their drinking, there was gendered disagreement about personal responsibility. The girls described how they were ultimately responsible for any adverse consequences if they drank too much whilst the boys considered a wide range of partners who would be implicated. However, unlike the girls, the boys described a willingness to either abstain or moderate their alcohol intake in order to remain in control and avoid any alcohol-related trouble or harm.Journal of Youth Studies 01/2015; DOI:10.1080/13676261.2014.992325 · 1.38 Impact Factor
- Sociological Research Online 01/2012; 17(4). DOI:10.5153/sro.2785 · 0.45 Impact Factor