Is the alcohol message all wrong?
Many people think heavy drinking causes promiscuity, violence and anti-social behaviour. That’s not necessarily true, argues Kate Fox.
I am a social anthropologist, but what I do is not the traditional intrepid sort of anthropology where you go and study strange tribes in places with mud huts and monsoons and malaria.
I really don’t see why anthropologists feel they have to travel to unpronounceable corners of the world in order to study strange tribal cultures with bizarre beliefs and mysterious customs, when in fact the weirdest and most puzzling tribe of all is right here on our doorstep. I am of course talking about my own native culture – the British.
And if you want examples of bizarre beliefs and weird customs, you need look no further than our attitude to drinking and our drinking habits. Pick up any newspaper and you will read that we are a nation of loutish binge-drinkers – that we drink too much, too young, too fast – and that it makes us violent, promiscuous, anti-social and generally obnoxious.
In the UK, heavy drinking is associated with a range of stereotypes
There are cultures where drinking is not associated with violence