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Responses to alcohol-related problems in four western countries: Characterising and explaining cultural wetness and dryness.

Gilchrist, Catherine Elaine (2004) Responses to alcohol-related problems in four western countries: Characterising and explaining cultural wetness and dryness. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

There have been many variations on the theme of "wet" versus "dry" patterns of alcohol consumption. "Wet" and "dry" ideal types, primarily based on the extent to which alcohol customs are integrated and consistent with or antithetical to societal norms, can be located at opposite ends of a continuum and include distinctive patterns of consequences of drinking as well as different assumptions regarding societal responses to drinking. The "dry" proponents primarily focus on medical issues, the long-term consequences of alcohol consumption, while the "wet" proponents are far more concerned with the social disruptiveness associated with drinking. These correlate with very different types of drinking patterns or habits: sporadic bouts of intoxication for the "drys" and chronic heavy consumption for the "wets." Canada, England, France and Sweden were selected for comparison because the variation between their "wet"/"dry" status exemplifies the extent to which the "wet"/"dry" paradigm is capable of accounting for each country's history of alcohol consumption and its regulation. Seventeen alcohol-specific characteristics are analysed within five main categories: popular movements and the politicisation of alcohol; consumption statistics; drinking patterns and cultural meanings of alcohol; alcohol-related problems; and alcohol policy. Largely ignored in the formal evaluative literature, most of what currently exists on the subject has been collected piecemeal and presented ad hoc. This thesis examines whether cultural influences, particularly the "wet"/"dry" paradigm, influence the effectiveness of alcohol control policies. The purpose then is to contribute to the state of knowledge and theorising regarding the nature and explanation of variation between "wet" and "dry" cultures as archetypes, both in terms of the cultural position of alcohol and policy preferences and about the processes of change in a "wetter" or "dryer" direction; integral to this is the provision of alternative modes of conceiving the resolution to specific alcohol problems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Social Policy
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2668

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