Habitus of home and traditional drinking: a qualitative analysis of reported middle-class alcohol use

Brierley-Jones, Lyn, Ling, Jonathan, McCabe, Karen, Wilson, Graeme, Crosland, Ann, Kaner, Eileen and Haighton, Katie (2014) Habitus of home and traditional drinking: a qualitative analysis of reported middle-class alcohol use. Sociology of Health and Illness, 36 (7). pp. 1054-1076. ISSN 0141-9889

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.12145

Abstract

There is evidence that alcohol consumption among those in middle-class occupations consistently exceeds safe levels, yet there has been little research into why this occurs. This article explores the meanings associated with alcohol use among professional, managerial and clerical workers. Qualitative data were collected from five focus groups of male and female employees aged 21–55 (N =49: 32 male, 17 female). Each focus group was conducted on the premises of a medium-scale or large-scale employer, four public sector and one private sector, in the north-east of England. Using Bourdieu's concepts of ‘habitus’, ‘capitals’ and ‘fields’ we found that, among these middle-class occupational groups, alcohol use was associated with two habitus: a ‘home drinking’ habitus and a ‘traditional drinking’ habitus. Those of the home drinking habitus particularly used wine as a source of cultural capital and a means of distinction, whereas those in the traditional habitus consumed lager, beer and spirits to have fun in social settings. A small minority appeared to belong to a third, omnivorous, habitus where a wide range of alcoholic drinks were consumed in a variety of contexts. Existing public health initiatives to reduce alcohol consumption may require modification to accommodate a range of drinking cultures.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: middle-class, alcohol, Bourdieu, habitus, distinction
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > School of Health, Community and Education Studies > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 12:12
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2017 09:55
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/29562

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