The main purpose of this book is to provide an insight into the
wide variety of drinking occasions which exist around the world.
It is the result of nearly 40 years of research by the author
about drinking practices and about a dozen years of concern about
national and international policies as they relate to this important
part of human culture.
As such, this volume consciously does not focus upon drinking
problems, alcohol abuse, or harmful drinking patterns, although
those topics are certainly not ignored. Rather, the scientific
and epidemiological literature on the adverse health and social
consequences of irresponsible drinking is put into the broader
context of how people drink, what they do and what they say.
In making available an account of the diversity of normal drinking
behaviour and largely beneficial drinking patterns, this book
seeks to describe how drinking behaviour is integrated with a
wide range of other human activities instead of existing as an
Drinking Occasions is primarily divided into six investigative
chapters. Chapter 1 analyses the key question of when people drink, providing a framework for the manner in which drinking
occasions fit into the rhythm of life for individuals, communities,
and even whole countries and cultures.
Chapter 2 shifts the focus to where people drink, showing how the setting often affects the meanings
and outcomes of drinking. Chapter 3 then examines who drinks, turning the spotlight on such social categories as age,
gender, education, occupation, class, ethnicity, and religion.
Chapter 4 looks at how people drink, any occasion being framed by a certain set of etiquette
and paraphernalia. Chapter 5 provides a natural extension to this
discussion by introducing what people drink, and how different types of drinks relate to each
other. Chapter 6 deals with the issue of why people drink or choose not to drink. It examines medical, religious,
aesthetic, moral and other kinds of reasons as well as questions
of relevance. In addition to these 6 main chapters there is a
final chapter which draws upon the broad panorama of human experiences
in order to offer a few conclusions and implications.
Drinking Occasions, together with an extensive list of references
offers a valuable insight into human nature and our relationship
with alcohol both past and present and is a useful springboard
for those interested in pursuing a particular topic in more depth.
Drinking Occasions is published by Brunner/Mazel, 325 Chesnut
Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 USA