Women and alcohol: Contemporary discourses around femininity and leisure in the UK.

DAY, Katy L. (2003). Women and alcohol: Contemporary discourses around femininity and leisure in the UK. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

The thesis examines discourses around femininity and drinking in the United Kingdom in the current historical context. The research was comprised of two major studies. The first, a media text study, involved collecting articles, commentaries and visual material pertaining to women and alcohol from a range of national newspapers over nearly a three year period (January 1998 - December 2000). The second research study entailed the conduction of focus group interviews with women from diverse social backgrounds from South and West Yorkshire around the subject area of femininity and drinking. All texts and data collected were then subjected, predominantly, to a Foucauldian style of discourse analysis (e.g. Burman & Parker, 1993).The texts largely constructed drinking as problematic for women. Such meanings are informed by the construction of alcohol consumption as an essentially masculine activity (e.g. Kaminer & Dixon, 1995) and women as responsible carers who should not indulge in such male vices (e.g. Cooke & Allan, 1984). For example, drinking women are not only regarded as damaging their health but also as emasculating. The increasing presence of women within traditionally male domains (e.g. the pub) has also been met with moral panic and 'backlash' discourse (Faludi, 1992), particularly evident in recent media output. Further, drinking women were positioned as vulnerable and at risk from predatory and aggressive men (e.g. Lindqvist, 1991), but at the same time, partially responsible for any harm they may suffer by virtue of their 'unfeminine' conduct. This raises important issues around the attribution of responsibility for abusive male behaviour, which may be of concern to feminists, thus indicating such discourses as a site for intervention. Yet these operated alongside competing contemporary discourses which positioned drinking women in more powerful ways, for instance, as active sexual predators and aggressors, thus subverting a form of 'victim feminism' which has been heavily criticised in recent years (e.g. Roiphe, 1993; Paglia, 1992). Finally, the thesis further contributes to the postmodern deconstruction of the category 'women' as a unitary one (e.g. Wilkinson, 1996) by using alcohol consumption as a site for investigating the construction and negotiation of multiple forms of femininity. In sum, the thesis hopes to make a valuable contribution to feminist social psychological work around gender, as to date, analyses of women's drinking per se appear to be largely absent from this literature (Day et al, 2001a).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2003.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:23
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2018 07:49
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20658

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