The Dirty Pint: Consumption Objects in Young People's Extreme Alcohol Consumption and Enactment of Self

Cocker, Hayley and Banister, Emma and Piacentini, Maria (2012) The Dirty Pint: Consumption Objects in Young People's Extreme Alcohol Consumption and Enactment of Self. In: Research in Consumer Behavior. Emerald, pp. 333-351. ISBN 978-1-78190-022-2

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Purpose – To extend understanding of the rituals and practices of alcohol consumption through a focus on the consumption object (the Dirty Pint) as a central actant in the practices of extreme alcohol consumption. Design/methodology/approach – Seventeen paired and group interviews were conducted with young consumers (aged 16–18). An Actor-Network Theory (ANT)-inspired approach to data analysis was used in conjunction with Bourdieu's key concepts of habitus, field and capital to present a detailed understanding of the practices and rituals of extreme alcohol consumption. Findings – The same consumption object takes on a very different role and has different forms of agency, depending on the social space (field) in which it is embedded. The Dirty Pint acts differently within different social spaces or sub-fields of the field of adolescence, particularly when combined with individual subjects of differing habitus to produce an object+subject hybrid. Social implications – Paying attention to all the relevant actants (both human and non-human) involved in the practice of alcohol consumption could lead to more novel and relevant alcohol-harm reduction strategies or campaigns that young people can both relate to and take more seriously. Originality/value of paper – We stress the need to grant greater agency to objects in studying consumption practices and identity enactment and contribute to the literature on identity by extending Gergen's (2009) ‘relational being’, conceiving of the self as embedded in both inter-subjective and inter-objective interactions and relationships (Latour, 1996).

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26 Dec 2012 15:16
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16 Sep 2023 03:02