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Making Sense of Drinking:The Role of Techniques of Neutralisation and Counter-Neutralisation in Negotiating Alcohol Consumption’

Piacentini, Maria and Chatzidakis, Andreas and Banister, Emma (2012) Making Sense of Drinking:The Role of Techniques of Neutralisation and Counter-Neutralisation in Negotiating Alcohol Consumption’. Sociology of Health and Illness, 34 (6). pp. 841-857. ISSN 0141-9889

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    Abstract

    This paper contributes to the understanding of how students neutralise potential feelings of guilt and stigmatisation regarding their alcohol consumption. We report findings from two qualitative studies with students at a UK university. The aim of the research was to uncover the range and ways in which neutralisation and counter-neutralisation techniques are used by drinkers and abstainers/near-abstainers in managing their alcohol position. Study 1 consisted of five focus groups with heavy drinkers and Study 2 comprised nine one-to-one interviews with abstainers and near-abstainers. Analysis highlights the importance of alcohol consumption in students’ lifestyles, but also the potential identity conflicts experienced by all drinkers, regardless of the amount consumed. Heavy drinkers primarily employ neutralisation techniques as a means to rationalise the negative impacts of their actions, whereas abstainers and near-abstainers mainly use counter-neutralisation techniques as a means to reinforce their commitment to lifestyles which run counter to mainstream student life expectations. However, regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed, all participants employed neutralising and counter-neutralising arguments in some social situations. The paper discusses the usefulness of neutralisation theory to account for the adoption of risky health behaviours, such as excessive alcohol consumption, and the potential implications for public health interventions.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Sociology of Health and Illness
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Alcohol consumption ; students ; neutralisation
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
    Departments: Lancaster University Management School > Marketing
    ID Code: 49759
    Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
    Deposited On: 16 Sep 2011 10:10
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 22:41
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/49759

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