Many researchers who have studied drinking in Ireland have worked under the assumption that the Irish have a particularly acute problem with alcohol. Through an investigation of historical and contemporary writings on the subject I demonstrate that the problem is more complicated than traditional images would lead one to believe. Generally it is not known that Ireland has one of the lowest rates of alcohol consumption in Europe and one of the highest percentages of abstainers, although it is also true that Ireland has one of the highest hospital admission rates for alcoholrelated illnesses. In an attempt to understand the complex variety of drinking behaviours in Ireland, I advocate the reinterpretation and use of the concept of ambivalence in the context of Irish drinking, adapting ideas of Barth originally applied to Bah in the process.
International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 1996
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