THE INTOXICATED TAXI:RIBALD ADVENTURES OF A SOBER ALCOHOLIC AND HOW HE GOT THAT WAY
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Submariners - IMDb Sunset in the dessert oase.. This is, according to Daley , an opportunity wasted by Britain, which could have learned from the example set by Sweden. In the meantime, however, Swedish officials have fashioned a new anti-alcohol plan that focuses on education, including programs for pregnant women, tough drunk driving laws, tougher regulations governing serving drinks to minors and a ban on liquor advertising Daley In many, if not all of these cases, media commentary tends to emphasise the social costs of drinking, drunkenness and, in the case of Sweden, anti-alcohol policies.
The primary concerns with much of this commentary are the impact that drinking has on young people, on addicts, and on crime — and therefore on how governments should respond to these problems. What Daley has highlighted here is the way that the narrative the media constructs about drinking and drunkenness centres on two key themes: the consequences of drinking — the personal and social disorder caused by alcohol abuse — and the solutions to drinking. Cross-cultural differences in drinking and intoxication have been given much consideration by social scientists, particularly in the European context.
Researchers have developed a way of understanding drinking patterns using a geographical division between northern European drinking styles Britain and North America are often put into this category and southern European drinking. Some studies have shown that:. Societies in which alcohol is traditionally an accepted and morally neutral element of everyday life, such as southern European cultures of Italy, Spain, France and Greece, have lower rates of drunkenness among young people than societies with a more ambiguous, uneasy relationship with alcohol, such as Scandinavia, Britain and North America.
Elgar et al. This kind of cultural environment requires careful consideration for the distinction between the boundary of drinking and non-drinking contexts, as well as the boundary between intoxication and non-intoxication. Raitasalo et al. By way of example, Raitasalo et al.
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In Finland, people mostly drink at weekends and festive occasions and drinking often aims at intoxication, whereas in Italy, daily drinking is a widespread practice and people are rarely intoxicated. Germany and the Netherlands are situated in between these two extremes. In these countries there is more variation in respect to time and place of drinking compared with Finland and Italy, whilst in drinking to intoxication there is more variation in these countries compared with Italy, though less compared with Finland.
Traditionally, this model has been used to describe alcohol drinking in European countries. The dilemmas associated with this method of framing different cultural contexts for drinking are further developed by Room and Makela , , when they suggest that:. A society in which almost no one drinks within the national borders can be described as dry.
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But what about a society in which drinking is confined for many to a few fiestas each year and in which the public discourse around alcohol is negative and moralistic? Or a society in which consumption has risen in a few decades from very low levels to levels that rival the levels of the wine cultures, but which seems to have retained a tradition of sporadic extreme drunkenness?
These descriptions approximate the positions of Saudi Arabia, Mexico and South Korea, respectively; although each has features that fit the dry archetype, it is questionable how useful it is to treat them all as a single type. Nordlund , 87 suggests that it is difficult to use the terms intoxication and non-intoxication across cultural settings as they will be defined very differently by different groups.
Wolska et al. This finding is in contrast to how their male counterparts were perceived. Self-reported drunkenness is, then, a product of not only the amount of alcohol drunk but also the socio-cultural expectations around drunkenness and appropriate gendered behaviour. Another study by Dean , discusses the way in which weekend evening drinking in a public bar in the isolated Western Isles Hebridean islands off the west coast of Scotland differs from the mainland. Initially, the scene resembles that of a comparable night on the mainland.
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Intentions cause the outcome to be both more gregarious and more drunken than elsewhere. Islanders intend to participate in collective drunkenness, and through that to enter a shared disinhibited celebration of friendship and shared identity. The event resembles a private party, such as a Western wedding reception or a 21st birthday celebration, more than an evening in a bar.
The relative isolation of the Western Isles may explain these drinking patterns. Most people have known each other for most, if not all, of their lives. Many are related in some way.
Thus an atmosphere exists of great familiarity and relative security, which is seldom reproduced in less-closed communities. In consequence, the loss of inhibitions due to drinking occurs largely away from the gaze of strangers, and drinking is both rapid and extensive. Only particular kinds of communities can promote this kind of relationship, which is one of collective drunkenness between patrons in a bar.
This contrasts with the ways in which drunkenness and intoxication are defined through some of the issues related to the night-time economy of the UK and Australia. There have been a number of large scale surveys in Europe to better understand how drinking habits differ between countries. These studies tend to report drinking patterns and levels of consumption. It is comprised of survey data collected in May , in these six EU member states, with about respondents aged 18—64 that were randomly selected in each country Room and Bullock , ; see also Leifman a; b.
While there were reported methodological issues with this survey — as is common to large scale surveys of this kind — what we are interested in concerns the different ways in which the ideas of intoxication and drunkenness may be defined and understood in different cultures. These ideas do not stand separate from levels of consumption but our main focus here is related to definitions and understandings of intoxication and drunkenness.
Thus the ECAS study provides a useful insight into these. Clear differences emerged in the frequency of drinking found to be highest in France and Italy, lowest in Finland and Sweden, and increasing with age in France and Italy in particular, but also in Germany ; and the quantity of alcohol consumed the average consumed quantity per drinking occasion is highest in Finland, Sweden and the UK, and lowest in France and Italy, with the youngest in age showing the highest quantity per drinking occasion in most countries.
As Room and Bullock , report:. The results were not in the expected direction. Finnish respondents were more likely than others to value not showing any effects after drinking. Italian, French and British respondents were the most likely to believe that getting drunk leads to violence. Italian, German and British respondents were most likely to believe that friends should forgive and forget after drunken anger, and Italians and British were the most likely to excuse behavior because of drunkenness.
The ECAS data was analysed using the theoretical framework of wet and dry drinking cultures.
On none of the five items that we examined in this paper was there a clear north-south gradient. In agreement with this, the French respondents are also least likely to agree that behavior while drunk should not count between friends afterwards — this time joined by the Finnish respondents. It seems that drinking cultures are dynamic and in an era of globalisation not as fixed as previously imagined.
For Room and Bullock , — this dynamism means that:. We may need to start again to develop an understanding of how drinking norms and social control of drinking work in southern European cultures. From the present study and others, there are several challenges to the picture of southern European drinking that is often presented in English-language and Scandinavian sources, which, as Olsson [see Appendix B] has pointed out, often has elements of a projected fantasy.
Although southern Europeans drink more frequently in between the heavier drinking occasions than northern Europeans, there does not seem to be a systematic north-south split in terms of prevalences of fairly regular heavy drinking.
Social control around drinking in wine cultures is also usually thought of as internalized, in terms of self-control. Underlying many hypotheses about cultural differences in drinking is a half-hidden assumption that handling drinking and problematic drinking is more effortless and unself-conscious in some societies than in others — and particularly, in the wine cultures. The data set we have been analyzing calls this assumption into question. Heavy drinking occasions occur in southern Europe as well as in northern Europe, and minimizing the harm from them does not seem to be something that happens without attention or effort.
In the next section we turn to smaller scale studies to examine different understandings of drunkenness and intoxication in different social locations. Smaller scale studies by anthropologists and sociologists and the relatively new field of tourism studies have also considered the different understandings and meanings of intoxication and drunkenness between cultural groups in different settings.
This research has tended to focus on the ways in which different groups stage intoxication over the life course or at festival or holiday times. For example, in a study of Italian men aged 40 to 45 and 65 to 70 Scarscelli , used individual interviews to examine the drinking trajectories of these men. They were characterised as follows:. Scarscelli analyses her data through a sociological framework, reading the intoxication patterns of older men with an eye to the importance of context:. Different systems of norms guiding the use and abuse of alcohol co-existed within our society.