The Demon Drink

Alcohol and moral regulation, past and present

Authored by: Henry Yeomans , Chas Critcher

Routledge Handbook of Leisure Studies

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415697170
eBook ISBN: 9780203140505
Adobe ISBN: 9781136495595


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The consumption of alcoholic drinks is an important feature of leisure in Western societies. Pleasure in drinking can be found simply in the enjoyment of taste, but also in the way it enhances personal relaxation, sociability and recreation (Keane, 2011). Drinking permeates social rituals such as christenings, weddings and funerals. This ubiquitous enjoyment of alcohol can be problematic. Consumption eventually affects drinkers’ consciousness and lessens self-control. Drinking has been blamed for diminished economic productivity, domestic disharmony and disruptions to public order. The intoxicating effects of alcohol allegedly lead to failure in social roles as worker, parent or user of public space (Room, 2011). Understandings of alcohol are thus acutely ambivalent: drinking is widely enjoyed yet frequently linked to many social problems (Gusfield, 1996).

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