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 F.S. and Haighton, Catherine A. (2014) Habitus of Home and Traditional Drinking: a qualitative analysis of reported middle-class alcohol use. Sociology Of Health & Illness, 36 (7). pp. 1054-1076. ISSN 1467-9566

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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: Social Sciences > Health and Social Care
Sciences > Health Sciences
Social Sciences > Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Applied Sciences
Faculty of Applied Sciences > Department of Pharmacy Health and Wellbeing
Health Sciences and Wellbeing Beacon
Depositing User: Hannah Dodd
Date Deposited: 10 May 2016 13:34
Last Modified: 10 May 2016 13:34
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/5102

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