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30_Drunken_Comportment - Drunken Comportment Cross-Cultural...

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1 Drunken Comportment Cross-Cultural Studies of Alcohol ± Non-problematic drinking: ² “The association of drinking with any kind of specifically associated problems – physical, economic, psychological, social relational or other – is rare among cultures throughout both history and the contemporary world.” (Heath: 1987) ² Is “normal” in both statistical and sociological terms. ± To say that alcohol-related problems are scientifically “abnormal” ² Does not deny the suffering of those afflicted by such problems. ² Such factual statements often confuses with moral judgments about its merit. A ‘natural experiment’ ± While ethanol produces well-understood neurochemical changes, the wide variation in social and behavioral outcomes of drinking can only be explained with reference to cultural factors, and to culturally determined beliefs about the effects of drinking.” (MacAndrew and Edgerton, 1969) ± Alcohol-related problems are associated with specific cultural factors, relating to beliefs, attitudes, norms and expectations about drinking. ± Most problems ‘linked’ with drinking – crime, violence, disorder, accidents, spousal abuse, disease, etc. – are associated with excessive, ‘abnormal’ drinking.
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2 Drunken Comportment ± “Over the course of socialization, people learn about drunkenness what their society ‘knows’ about drunkenness; and accepting and acting upon the understandings thus imparted on them, they become the living confirmation of their society’s teachings.” ± There is overwhelming historical and cross-cultural evidence that people learn not only how to drink but how to be affected by drink…In simple terms, people who expect drinking to result in violence become aggressive; to feel sexy, amorous; disinhibiting, demonstrative.” Cross-Cultural Variation ± Negative or inconsistent beliefs and expectations are associated with higher levels of alcohol-related problems. ² ‘Temperance’, ‘Dry’, ‘Nordic’ or ‘ambivalent’ drinking cultures in UK, US, Scandinavian and Australia associated with violent and anti-social behavior. ± Generally positive beliefs and expectations are associated with significantly fewer alcohol-related problems. ² ‘Non-temperance’, ‘wet’, or ‘integrated’ drinking cultures in Mediterranean and South American culture, largely peaceful and harmonious behavior. ± Can change; shift to ambivalent/negative beliefs in previously positive/integrated drinking cultures. ² Neighborhood pubs compared with city centre clubs. ² Continental Europeans fear the spread of ‘British’ drunken comportment. Hogarth’s
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