Binge drinking: A new approach needed

January 4, 2013

A new study from the Journal of Marketing Management suggests that the UK's alcohol problem will continue to worsen until the availability and cultural presence of alcohol is subject to stricter controls.

The paper, " and 'binge' drinking: A Bakhtinian analysis" points to a deep contradiction between young people's lived experience of alcohol, and government policy discourses based on appeals to individual .

Several themes emerged from the study's focus-group and depth interviews with 89 young adults of mixed ethnicity, class, and gender aged 18–25 in three geographical locations in the UK between 2006 and 2007. Without prompting, individuals would relate sometimes quite lengthy narratives to the group around experiences of extreme drinking. The study includes extracts from the transcripts of these stories.

The stories often retold events which were dangerous, reckless, irresponsible, or potentially highly incriminating for the subject's reputation for controlled or responsible behaviour. The stories would be received with rapt attention, affirmative interjections, and excited laughter which, the study felt had an element of Bakhtin's folk and carnival humour which stands in opposition to the official conventions and mores of the day. There appeared to be a temporary subversion and reversal of and roles in a world turned 'inside out' as a result of the .

The study suggests that insights into extreme drinking as a cultural phenomenon should be a necessary part of policy engagement with the issue. This must go beyond simplistic calls to 'change' Britain's drinking culture and must, rather, engage with that culture in order to generate policy which connects with the role alcohol plays in consumers' lived experience.

Explore further: Extending smoking ban outside bars could help curb 'social smoking'

More information: Hackleya, C. et al., Young adults and 'binge' drinking: A Bakhtinian analysis. Journal of Marketing Management:

Related Stories

Young adults drink more in the company of a heavy drinker

March 21, 2012

Young adults drink more alcohol if they are in the company of peers who drink heavily. NWO researcher Helle Larsen has scientifically confirmed this link for the first time by observing young adults in a research lab converted ...

Recommended for you

Alcoholics may lack key enzyme

September 22, 2016

(HealthDay)—Alcoholics may lack an enzyme that would help them control their impulse to drink, a new study with rats suggests.

Gamblers more prone to violent behavior

September 6, 2016

Men who gamble are more likely to act violently towards others, with the most addicted gamblers the most prone to serious violence, new research has shown.

People with alcohol dependency lack important enzyme

August 30, 2016

A research group under the leadership of Linköping University Professor Markus Heilig has identified an enzyme whose production is turned off in nerve cells of the frontal lobe when alcohol dependence develops. The deficiency ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.