Room R. Some recent trends in social alcohol research. 33rd International Institute on the Prevention and Treatment of Alcoholism, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2 June, 1987. 13 p.
Recent trends in social alcohol research are discussed and interpreted in this review of the literature. New elements in alcohol social science include the time dimension and processes of change. It is seen that changes in populations as well as in individuals do occur and understanding of the processes of change is beginning. Recent studies have rediscovered the importance of age or life stage in the differentiation of drinking patterns. Historical and cohort changes, changes from one era to another and from one generation to another, are closely involved in the process. Increased social and epidemiological alcohol research in many other countries has increased the scope of cross-cultural comparative studies. These cross-national studies increase understanding of variations in drinking patterns within a multi-ethnic society such as the United States. Psychological and behavioral studies have shifted from a purely behaviorist psychology to a cognitive psychology, where explicit attention is paid to the mental processes, including interpretation, expectations, cause and responsibility. In addition, the studies of recent years have recognized that drinking-related problems may be associated with particular drinking occasions and environments or with individual responses to drinking. It is concluded that such social and epidemiological studies are making important contributions to the understanding in alcohol research. 101 Ref.
Room, R. Alcohol treatment and society: Overview. In: M. Galanter (Ed.), Recent Developments in Alcoholism: Volume 5. Memory Deficits, Sociology of Treatment, Ion Channels, Early Problem Drinking, New York: Plenum Press, 1987. 457 p (pp. 129-133)
An overview of treatment for alcoholism is presented. It is noted that alcohol problems cannot be neatly characterized and that they are often intractable. While treatment may immediately relieve suffering, long- term treatment success is seen in only 15-20 percent of patients. There remains a need to understand the client's needs and expectations for treatment. In addition, alcoholism treatment exists along with other health and social needs. Future research should include work on alcohol treatment at the systems level and on the social ecology of alcohol treatment. 13 Ref.
Room R. Non-relation of attitudes to drinking and attitudes on community response: A cross-cultural commonality? International Group for Comparative Alcohol Studies, Zaborow, Poland: 22 Sep - 26 Sep 1986. 26 p.
The present analysis is concerned with testing the relations between attitudes towards drinking and drunkenness, and attitudes towards the handling of alcohol problems. The analysis uses for its material general-population surveys conducted in Mexico, Zambia, and Scotland in 1978, and in California in 1979, in connection with the World Health Organization study of Community Response to Alcohol-Related Problems. In the four diverse cultures there seemed to be little or no empirical relationship between attitudes concerning community response and norms on drunkenness, abstention, and personal drinking experience. However, each cultures' attitudes on treatment and other community response modes had little or no relation to attitudes on drinking and drunkenness. Also, these attitudes on treatment and other community response modes had little or no relation to an individuals' personal experiences with drinking or with interpersonal response to drinking. 15 Ref.
Room R. Historical perspectives on the treatment response to alcohol problems: Case studies in six societies. Contemporary Drug Problems, Fall:387-393, 1986.
The worldwide historical development of alcohol treatment is discussed, with particular emphasis on the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, German-speaking countries and the Nordic countries. While there are many common points in the different national responses to drunkenness, there are also many differences, which may be the result of developments over time in a common international reservoir of thought about alcohol problems, with the result that the different national responses reflect the different times in which the systems existed. It is noted that much research needs to be done to fill out a true comparative history of alcohol treatment. 13 Ref.
Hill T W; Room R. On alcohol and ethnography: A problem in the history of anthropology. Current Anthropology, 26(2):282-284, 1985.
Response is made to an article by Robin Room concerning the issues involved in the use of ethnographic methodology by anthropologists in the study of alcohol use by tribal and village societies before the 1970s. Robin Room replies to the critique.
Room R. Man and his relationship to society. The preventive implications of the socio-cultural modelling of drinking: Synthesis. In: Currents in Alcohol Research and the Prevention of Alcohol Problems, Berne, Switzerland: Hans Huber Publishers, 1985. 143 p. ( pp. 125-127).
According to this synthesis of three conference papers, a paradigm shift exists which reflects both movements in popular thought and movements in epidemiological and social science research in the alcohol field. This is a shift away from the causes of alcoholism as the single focus of the field.
Room R. Formulation of state alcohol monopolies and controls: Case studies in five nations. Contemporary Drug Problems, 12(1):1-9, 1985.
Articles concerning historical periods in which at least part of the present-day structures of state intervention in the alcohol market developed are outlined briefly. 19 Ref.
Room R. Dependence and society. British Journal of Addiction, 80(2):133-139, 1985.
The connections between sociocultural factors and alcohol dependence may be approached in several ways. Sociocultural factors can be treated as predictors and correlates extrinsic to dependence, viewed as a disease entity. The concept of dependence can be reexamined in terms of its presence in either the psyche or the body and expanded to include the possibility of its existence at supraindividual sociocultural levels. Dependence can be reinterpreted as depending on sociocultural characteristics specific to particular times and places. Particular attention is paid to the development of sociological constructionist thinking that views the concept and experiential reality of addiction or dependence as a product of particular cultural conditions rather than as a transcultural universal. 34 Ref.
Room R. Liquor question and the formation of consciousness: Nation, ethnicity, and class at the turn of the century. Contemporary Drug Problems, 12(2):165-172, 1985.
Information is presented on the temperance movement, patterns of drinking, rates and trends in alcohol-related problems, and the nature and extent of societal reactions to alcohol problems.
Room R. American experience with alcohol: Contrasting cultural perspectives. Foreword. In: Linda A. Bennett and Genevieve M. Ames (Eds.), American Experience with Alcohol: Contrasting Cultural Perspectives, New York, NY: Plenum Press, 1985. 490 p. (pp. xi-xvii).
An introduction is made to a volume of studies on cultural perspectives of the American alcohol experience. The forward focuses on the new understanding of American ethnicities and of their experiences with alcohol, an understanding that emphasizes change as well as status in cultural patterns, creation as well as inheritance, and interchange as well as immanence. 27 Ref.
Room R. AIDS and alcohol: Epidemiological and behavioral aspects. NIAAA Consultation on AIDS and Alcohol, 4 Nov - 5 Nov 1985. 14 p.
A preliminary discussion of the ways in which alcohol use may interact with the AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic and of potential data resources and directions for research is provided. It has been established that intravenous drug users are also heavy alcohol users. Consequently, it is possible that alcohol is also involved in some way in the etiological connection of intravenous drug use with AIDS. Evidence also suggests that heavy drinking is a part of many homosexuals' lifestyles. Alcohol may thus be involved in the etiological connection of homosexual behavior and AIDS. Alcohol and disinhibition as a factor in unsafe sexual or drug use practices is also of concern and may well be the most fruitful area for research. The drinking patterns of intravenous drug users and homosexuals are examined in detail and available evidence is reviewed concerning drinking, disinhibition, and unsafe sexual practices. Five potentially useful epidemiological studies currently in progress in the San Francisco/Bay Area (CA) on AIDS which include alcohol consumption data are described. The responses of San Francisco area communities to AIDS and alcohol problems and proposed directions for future research are discussed. 24 Ref.
Room R. Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous in U.S. films, 1945-1962: The party ends for the "wet generations". International Group for Comparative Alcohol Studies conference, Helsinki, Finland: 24 Sep - 28 Sep 1985. 23 p.
Between 1945 and 1962, at least 27 Hollywood movies were made in which one or more major characters were portrayed as alcoholics. The films of the period were influenced by efforts to secure humane treatment for the alcoholic. The historical background of these films is examined in terms of: The portrayed social position of film alcoholics; alcoholism portrayed as a generational problem and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a generational solution; incorporation of 12-step work, AA philosophy, and AA-oriented recovery from alcoholism into films; the divergent models of motivation for drinking and of treatment options; attitudes regarding alcohol and cultural assumptions regarding drunkenness; emphasis on moral, spiritual, or physical deterioration due to alcohol; film resolutions; gender roles; and critical reviews of the films at the time of their release. It is contended that the efflorescence of alcoholism films of that period was in large part a generational phenomenon, reflecting the life experiences of the middle class youth generations of the 1920s and 1930s.
Room R. Drugs, consciousness and society: Can we learn from others' experience? 34th International Congress on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Calgary, Alberta, Canada: 5 Aug 1985. 6 p.
To understand drug use in a culture, and society's response to it, pharmacology and patterns of use must be known, as well as the cultural meanings and associations of use. Interpretations and expectations concerning consciousness in general vary between cultures, as do the meanings cultures give to the psychoactive effects of a drug. Processes of cultural change and their impact on interpretations and expectations are discussed, including the growth of industrialized and urbanized forms of society and corresponding changes in the social context and form of drug use, availability, and the demand for sobriety and self- control. Directions of study needed in order to fully understand the processes of change are suggested.
Room R. New directions in the primary prevention of mental problems: Comment on a debate. Journal of Primary Prevention, 5(4):302-306, 1985.
Arguments for primary prevention are discussed. It is contended that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has the responsibility for solving all problems in society that are alcohol related whether or not these same problems are covered by other segments of the federal government. It is also argued that the genetic theory of addiction and support networks are not adequate responses to prevention. 5 Ref.
Room R. Measuring alcohol consumption in the U.S.: Methods and rationales. 31st International Institute on the Prevention and Treatment of Alcohol Problems, Rome, Italy: 2 Jun - 7 Jun 1985. 62 p.
The history and development of measurements of amount of drinking in North American surveys is discussed. There are two approaches to measuring the amount of drinking: single-dimensional ordering and multidimensional typologies. The measures include: quantity-frequency, volume-variability, and quantity-pattern. The pattern of intake may have a different meaning for severe problem drinkers requiring hospitalization and for social drinkers. The Jessor and Cahalan methods are compared for volume measures. Recent occasion questions, recent period summary methods, and customary drinking methods could be improved by adding a time period to be covered and requesting answers on specific amounts of drinking rather than usual quantity. The form of questions should be manipulated so that the questions are open-ended and familiarly worded; this will give a greater response to the volume of drinking questions. Samples of drinking questions and computations are provided. 95 Ref.
Room R. Public health and the organization of alcohol production. Contemporary Drug Problems, 12(4):469-472, 1985.
An introduction is made to a series of articles concerning the study of alcohol production and marketing in the context of a concern about factors in rises and falls in the rate of alcohol-related problems. The papers move in a number of different directions in tackling issues of the organization of alcohol production: aspects of the history of alcohol production in the US, tracing the role of material factors and of the organization of production in the large-scale shifts in alcoholic beverage preferences and in amount of drinking in American history; the American brewing industry, unions, and the late nineteenth century temperance movement; sources of present-day US alcohol control systems; recent trends of the brewing industry including factors such as increased concentration, advertising, and other promotion as well as segmentation and resegmentation of the market; price and demographic resegmentation in US markets; trends in production, marketing, and control in Mexico; and the relation between agricultural outputs and alcohol production on a global basis.
Barrows, S.; Room, R.; Verhey, J. (Eds.) Social history of alcohol: Drinking and culture in modern society. Social History of Alcohol: Drinking and Culture in Modern Society, Berkeley, CA, 2 Jan-5 Jan, 1984. 317 p.
Papers from a conference on the social history of alcohol are presented. Section headings within this volume include: (1) discourse of drink; (2) perspectives on prohibition and control; (3) social class and drinking in modern Germany; (4) social history and the cultural significance of drink; (5) the liquor question and nation building; (6) alcohol and colonialism; (7) alcohol monopolies in modern Europe; (8) medicine, alcohol, and public policy; (9) temperance and teetotalism in perspective; (10) preindustrial society and the cultures of drink; (11) ideologies of alcohol; (12) religion and temperance, the long view; ( 13) drink and the working class; and (14) political economic of drink. The focus of the conference was on complex societies and recent centuries, and on the cultural position of drinking or abstinence, their determinants and consequences. 163 Ref.
Makela K; Room R. Alcohol policy and the rights of the drunkard. 30th International Institute on the Prevention and Treatment of Alcoholism, Athens, Greece: 27-29 Jun 1984. 11 p.
The rights of the drinker in need of treatment or services are examined in light of current international policy regarding alcoholism prevention and treatment. Three aspects of the apparent current trend toward "the punitive and disciplinary control" of individual drinkers" are discussed. First are the signs that drunkenness is becoming more harshly treated in the penal system. Second, there is a drift towards compulsion in the alcohol problems treatment system. Third, the voluntary services available to the socially least fortunate groups of drunkards are contracting and there may be increasing discrimination in providing medical services against those perceived as drunkards. It is proposed that the societal crackdown on the drunkard should be a focus of attention and concern for those involved in policy, prevention and treatment of alcohol problems. A defacto policy of encouraging alcohol consumption and organizing social life around it, while stringently penalizing the individual drinker, is unlikely to be successful in reducing the rate of alcohol problems. A drunkard should have the same rights and entitlements as any other citizen similarly situated, rights for which common humanity is the warrant.
Room R. Alcohol control and public health. Annual Review of Public Health, 5:293-317, 1984.
Alcohol controls are primarily enforced through economic threats and incentives, rather than through the criminal law. Such controls depend on the State's power to structure the marketplace, rather than its power to control the behavior of individual citizens. These State controls on economic enterprise are usually more cheaply and more effectively enforceable than criminal sanctions against individuals. Those affected by such economically based controls are often better organized and positioned than are the mass of individual citizens or consumers to defend themselves from State action in a pluralistic political order. Due to the absence of strong political interest in alcohol issues, or of a national emergency, alcohol control measures tend to be in the direction of gradually looser controls. Public health considerations have usually not been taken into account in recent decades in economic and fiscal decisions affecting alcohol control. There is evidence of a renewed political concern about alcohol issues in many countries. In the United States, this concern has been expressed in new grassroots middle class organizatons such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in attention to alcohol issues by public health activist groups such as the National Association for Public Health Policy, and in a variety of partly symbolic legislative changes such as raising minimum drinking ages, disallowing drunkenness as a mitigating circumstance in crime, and toughening drunk driving laws. While there are signs of change, the concern has so far been expressed more in terms of deterrence and punishment of the individual deviant drinker than of alcohol control and other collectively oriented approaches. Alcohol controls affect alcohol related problems differentially, with different alcohol control measures having different effects. Price measures and major supply restrictions appear to affect the heaviest drinkers as much or more than the others, and often result in at least short term reduction in cirrhosis mortality and other chronic health problems, alcohol-related casualties, and social disruption. Middle class drinkers are less affected than the poor, so that restrictions on alcohol availability have less effect, for instance, on drunk driving. 17 Ref.
Room R. World health organization and alcohol control. British Journal of Addiction, 79(1): 85-92, 1984.
An interpretation of the World Health Organization's (WHO) concern with alcohol is provided. Modern programming in internatinal agencies has been primarily focused in the WHO. The primary effort in this area has come since 1970. Four main directions can be identified in the work of the last ten years: (1) a study of criteria for identifying and classifying disabilities related to alcohol consumption; (2) prevention strategies and national policies; (3) the coordination of collaborative studies on measuring and improving community and clinical responses to alcohol problems; and (4) collaboration at the international level. These main lines of work are described. Assessing the record, the program has been successful in symbolic accentuation of alcohol issues, and productive information collation, conceptual development and collaborative research, but has failed as yet to become institutionalized as a regular budget activity. The difficulties for WHO and other public health institutions in facing the terrain of alcohol control are discussed. 45 Ref.
Room R. Observations on alcohol in French Polynesia. Drinking and Drug Practices Surveyor, (19):66-69, 1984.
The viewpoint held by the French authorities in French Polynesia that there is a serious drinking problem in the Society Islands is investigated. It is contended that, based on two days of personal observations on the islands of Tahiti and Moorea, there are no signs of socially or personally disruptive drinking in either place. 12 Ref.
Room R. Recent history of alcohol controls: An international perspective. In: Harold Holder and Jerome Hallan (Eds.), Control Issues in Alcohol Abuse Prevention: Local, State and National Designs for the 80's, Charleston, SC: 27 Sep - 29 Sep 1981. 205 p. (pp. 27-33).
The history of alcoholic beverage control is traced from the Middle Ages, and control methods used in the United States prior to and following Prohibition are highlighted. Control is discussed in terms of historical and current trends of temperance, prevention, treatment, and governmental intervention. Examples of alcoholic beverage control in other countries are cited.
Room-R. Implications for international action. In: Harold Holder and Jerome Hallan (Eds.), Control Issues in Alcohol Abuse Prevention: Local, State and National Designs for the 80's, Charleston, SC: 27-29 Sep 1981. 205 p. (pp. 195-196).
The closing remarks made by the selected conference speakers about control perspectives at international, national, and State levels are summarized. These remarks identify factors which will shape future directions of formal control approaches to the prevention of alcohol abuse and identifies issues which will need attention in the 1980s.
Room R. "Intoxicated society?": Alcohol issues then and now in Australia. International Group for Comparative Alcohol Studies, Stockholm, Sweden: 23-27 Oct 1984. 37 p.
The dimensions of the gap between political dialogue and the experts' discussion about the alcohol problems in Australia are explored; the current alcohol situation in the country is generally characterized; and the historical background of Australian approaches to drinking and its problems is reviewed.
Room R. Alcohol problems and the sociological constructivist approach: Quagmire or path forward. Alcohol Epidemiology Section Meetings of the International Council on Alcohol and Addictions, Edinburgh, Scotland: 4-8 Jun 1984. 17 p.
In response to a courteous challange, the usefulness of the social problems construction approach to alcohol problems is defended. It is maintained that historical, social constructivist analyses offer a substantial way forward in understanding how changes occur in drinking patterns and social responses to them, and of the consequences of such changes.
Room R. Dependence and society. Centennial symposium of the Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs, "Addiction: A Hundred Years On", London, England: 25-26 Oct 1984. 7 p.
Sociocultural factors in dependence, particularly alcohol dependence, are discussed. A tenative synthesis is made of work in the tradition of viewing the dependence concept itself as a sociocultural construction, located in a particular time and place, and sociocultural circumstances.
Room R. Alcohol policies in industrial nations: Recent trends and alternative approaches. Journal of Primary Prevention, 4(4):189-198, 1984.
Alcohol consumption and many alcohol-related problems have increased in most industrialized countries in the postwar period. The main societal responses have been increases in the treatment response to alcohol problems and in public and school education efforts. In the present era of fiscal crisis, there is also a trend toward punitive controls of the individual drinker. Potential policy alternatives should be broadened to include environmental protections for and from drunkenness, and a reconsideration of alcohol control strategies. Recent studies have shown that in some circumstances such laws have strong effects.
Room R. How good an excuse is drunkenness?. Helsinki, Finland: 10 May 1984. 12 p.
Drunkenness as an explanation or justification for behavior is examined. Judicial thinking often takes for granted the understanding of a physiological link between drunkenness and crime. Conventional criminal law theories of responsibility for drunken actions depend on the assumption that defendants are responsible for their actions because they should have considered before drinking that drunkenness would have these malign effects. It is contended that cultural attitudes toward alcohol's power to disinhibit and therefore create the possibility for actions that might not otherwise occur need to be altered to stimulate action and correct the problem.
Room R. Alcohol and ethnography: A case of problem deflation?. Current Anthropology, 25(2):169-191, 1984.
The contention that there is a systematic tendency in the modern ethnographic literature on alcohol to underestimate the problems associated with drinking is explored. This view is seen as reflecting the concurrence of a number of aspects of the assumptions, methods, and theoretical emphases of ethnographic work on alcohol. The discussion is followed by comments from leading anthropologists and social scientists.
Weisner C; Room R. Financing and ideology in alcohol treatment. Social Problems, 32(2):167-184, 1984.
A case history of treatment services for alcohol problems in California since 1970 is provided showing how changes in the way such services are financed influences the treatment provided. The history of the treatment system and the reasons why it changed from a government supplied service to a contracted-out service dominated by private agencies is discussed, as well as how these changes have affected the ideology of alcohol treatment and the client composition of programs. 87 Ref.
Collins G; Room R Eds. Alcohol and disinhibition: Nature and meaning of the link. Proceedings of a Conference, February 11-13, 1981, Berkeley/Oakland, California. NIAAA Research Monograph No. 12. Rockville, MD: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1983. 505 p.
Proceedings of a conference on the emergent perspective of the cultural locus of the link between alcohol and disinhibition are presented. The three main aims of this conference were: (1) to collate and assess the available evidence on the nature and locus of the alcohol-disinhibition link; (2) to explore the nature and distribution of beliefs about alcohol and disinhibition, particularly about alcohol and violence in American society; and (3) to consider how beliefs about alcohol and disinhibition relate to the operation of social controls in the culture. Options for policy and social change implied by the work of this conference are considered.
Giesbrecht N; Cahannes M; Moskalewicz J; Osterberg E; Room R Eds. Consequences of drinking: Trends in alcohol problem statistics in seven countries. Toronto, Canada: Addiction Research Foundation, 1983. 145 p.
A collection of papers, a product of the International Study of Alcohol Control Experiences (ISACE) project, is provided, in which post-war trends in alcohol problems in seven industrialized societies are described. The seven societies include Poland, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Ontario (Canada), and California (United States). These papers are generally similar in theme, approach to the data, and type of data series used; however, they do differ in their emphasis, presentation and interpretation of data, and specific conclusions drawn. In all of these papers, alcohol-related problem indicators are selected from four main areas: mortality, morbidity, police and court statistics, and traffic accident data. In some papers, alcohol problem statistics are considered in light of survey data on alcohol consumption and drinking style.
Grant M; Room R. Potential media approaches to the prevention of alcohol related problems. WHO: Informal Consultation on Alcohol and Health, Geneva, Switzerland: 22-24 Nov 1983. 11 p.
The potential contribution which the media can make to the prevention of alcohol-related problems through the dissemination of accurate information is examined. To understand how to design improved interventions, it is necessary to be aware of the differences contained within alcohol-related problems and the media. In considering how the media might contribute to a more health-oriented presentation of alcohol-related issues, it becomes important to recognize that different media will, by their very nature, be able to contribute in very different ways, and that even the same media will be perceived differently in different countries. To see how these approaches apply to the prevention of alcohol-related problems. seven areas were selected representing serious health concerns associated with alcohol consumption. All seven areas have been the subject of some media coverage in the past, and include: (1) alcohol-related traffic accidents; (2) alcohol use on the job; (3) alcohol problems in the family; (4) physical diseases caused by alcohol; (5) alcohol dependence and associated problems; (6) alcohol use by youth; and (7) the distribution of excessive drinking in developing countries. After considering each of these areas, it is contended that some media approaches are a great deal more effective than others. It is the nature of the medium which changes the message and gives it its context.
Room R. Paternalism, Rationality and the special status of alcohol. In: M. Grant, et al., Eds., Economics and Alcohol: Consumption and Control, New York, NY: Gardner Press, 1983. 302 p. (pp. 262-266)
An attempt is made to describe the role of economists and their association with other disciplines in the field of alcoholism, by comparing these disciplines to tribes gathering at a marketplace or flea market to display their wares, barter, exchange, and profit. The economists' assumption presumes that consumers will behave so as to maximize their overall pleasure in terms of their own personal calculus, i.e., the dependent heavy drinker appears empirically to behave in accordance with rationality. It is contended that, to understand consumer behavior, in particular, alcohol consumption, researchers need to examine and draw upon collective historical experiences. Ways in which economists involved in the International Study of Alcohol Control Experiences (ISACE) have enhanced this understanding are also described.
Room R. Region and urbanization as factors in drinking practices and problems. In: B. Kissin, and H. Begleiter, Eds., Biology of Alcohol., Psychosocial Factors, New York, NY: Plenum Press, 1983. 695. (pp. 555-604)
Research literature is cited in a discussion of drinking practices and problems in the United States as they relate to geographical region and urbanization. Statistical data from a 1979 survey of drinking practices and problems are compared to those from a 1964 national survey. An international perspective of regional and urban-rural differences in drinking practices is presented. 108 Ref.
Room R. Sociological aspects of the disease concept of alcoholism. In: R.G. Smart, et al (Eds.), Research Advances in Alcohol Volume 7, New York, NY: Plenum Press, 1983. 472 p. (pp. 47-91).
The development and implications of the disease concept of alcoholism are reviewed. In its classic form, the alcoholism movement's disease concept may be seen as comprising a number of related elements. There is a scientific approach to alcohol issues which replaces the moralistic approach. This approach involves the recognition that there is a well-defined singular entity called alcoholism, and that those people who are victims of alcoholism will always be different in their drinking from the normal drinkers and consequently these people should never drink. The entity should be thought of as a disease in and of itself, not the symptom of some other disease, and that the alcoholic suffers from this disease involuntarily. Therefore, it is both rational and humane to help and treat alcoholics as sick rather than as immoral or criminal. The emergent sociological critiques of each of these points are discussed. 165 Ref.
Room R. Alcohol and ethnography: A case of problem deflation?. 1983. 25 p.
It is proposed that the modern ethnographic literature on alcohol in tribal societies tends to underestimate systematically problems resulting from drinking. It is contended that this "problem deflation" probably reflects a concurrence of various assumptions, methods, and theoretical orientations in the literature, in addition to a systematic bias against the full recognition of alcohol problems in the cultures under study. Ethnographic studies are cited in a discussion of the possible reasons for the deflation of the prevalence of alcohol-related problems in tribal societies. Future trends in ethnographic research of alcohol-related problems are discussed. 60 Ref.
Room R. Shifting perspectives on drinking: Alcohol portrayals in American films. 1983. 20 p.
Various American films are cited in an analysis of the shifting perspectives on drinking and how alcohol is portrayed in these films. From the point of view both of research interest and policy relevances, the primary interest in this analysis is to determine what these films communicate about behavior and beliefs relevant to drinking in the population at large, and what is taught through these films to the American population about such behaviors and belief. Several topics are addressed which relate to these questions: (1) the nature, codes, and technical limitations and possibilities of film as a medium; (2) the history of films as an industry and as a mass medium; and (3) the history of alcohol as an issue in twentieth century America. 23 Ref.
Room R. Alcohol-related problems: Conceptual and methodological aspects. 29th International Institute on the Prevention and Treatment of Alcoholism, Zagreb, Yugoslavia: 27 Jun - 1 Jul 1983. 17 p.
Developments in the conceptualization of alcohol-related problems are briefly discussed from an historical perspective. Adopting a pragmatic " disaggregative" approach, major dimensions involved in the measurement of alcohol-related problems are examined. These dimensions include the level at which these problems are "seated," the attribution of problems to alcohol, typological differences in these problems, and differences in the aspects of alcohol (in particular, the drinking event and the drinking history) to which the problems are related. Practical difficulties in and opportunities for the measurement of alcohol-related problems are also discussed, with reference to two types of data (social and health series data) which are particularly useful for charting prevalence and trends. The meaning of such data for understanding the natural history of alcohol-related problems, and as a basis for improving the prevention and management of such problems is considered. 62 Ref.
Room R. Alcohol as a cause: Empirical links and social definitions. International Symposium on Currents in Alcohol Research and the Prevention of Alcohol Problems, Lausanne, Switzerland: 7-9 Nov 1983. 20 p.
Some of the conceptual and methodological issues in undertaking empirical studies and drawing practical conclusions are considered in view of the trend toward conceptualization of the area of concern in alcohol studies as alcohol-related problems rather than simply alcoholism. The issues include: the nature and scope of alcohol-related problems; the social location of alcohol-related problems; the attribution of problems to alcohol; types of alcohol problems; and the question of alcohol as a cause in health and social problems.
Room R. Papua New Guinea: The rhetoric of alcohol control. In: G. Edwards, A. Arif, and J. Jaffe, Eds., Drug Use and Misuse: Cultural Perspectives, New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1983. (pp. 221- 231).
A cultural description is presented of Papua New Guinea, which expresses the attitudes concerning alcohol use. Papua New Guinia is viewed as having committed at least as much resources to a study of drinking as any other developing country. It is concluded from alcohol literature that increases in overall consumption of a society are not cost-free. At a minimum, the present benefits of substanially increased consumption carry the eventual costs of increased illness and death from liver disease. 3 Ref.
Room, R. Alcohol and crime: Behavioral aspects. In: S.H. Kadish, Ed., Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice: Volume 1., New York: The Free Press, 1983. (pp 35-44)
The relationship between alcohol consumption and crime is discussed, with a focus on behavioral effects. Section headings in this review of the literature include: (1) empirical evidence on alcohol and crime; ( 2) types of offenses; (3) sex and age variables; (4) ethnic and cultural differences; (5) influence on careers in crime; (6) situational factors; and (7) alcohol as a cause of crime. The study results reveal similarities in the gender-age distribution of heavy drinking and crime in the United States, although it is not certain that there is a causal relationship between them. Only a minority of alcoholics have records of serious crime. However, cultural differences in the association of drinking, violent behavior, and crime have been seen and it is suggested that the relationship between drinking and violence involves cultural expectations as well as pharmacology. 48 Ref.
Room R; Herd D. Alcohol images in American Film 1909-1960. Drinking and Drug Practices Surveyor, 18:24-35, 1982.
It is contended that drinking and drunkenness have played a significant and often invisible role in American films. A discussion of the ways in which alcohol has been used in films from the early days of the twentieth century until 1960 is presented. A listing and synopses of some of the films in which alcohol plays a significant role are provided. 15 Ref.
Room R. Alcohol, science and social control. In: E.L. Gomberg, et al., Eds., Alcohol, Science and Society Revisited, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1982. 440 p. ( pp. 371-384).
In this literature review, the author describes how views expressed in Alcohol, Science and Society (published in 1945) on alcohol problems and research were a beginning of the publicly-oriented alcoholism movement in the United States, and how a social control approach to alcohol problems and research emerged from this movement. Two directions in which studies of the social control of alcohol problems might be particularly fruitful are discussed. The first direction is attention to the interaction of social control and the "social worlds" of heavy drinkers. The second direction is the social handling of those identified as having alcohol problems. 66 Ref.
Room R. Sociology and the disease concept of alcoholism. 1982. 42 p.
Research literature is cited in a discussion of the emergent sociological critiques of relevant elements of the alcoholism movement' s classic disease concept. Although these critiques emerged at different times, this discussion is oriented to the logical structure of the concept rather than to historical sequence. The following topics are addressed: (1) the "entitativity" and irreversibility of alcoholism; (2) alcoholism as an involuntary disease; (3) the alcoholism conception as a new scientific approach; (4) the treatment response to alcoholism as rational and humane; and (5) alcoholism as the key to handling alcohol problems.
Room R. Alcohol as an issue in Papua New Guinea: A view from the outside. Through a Glass Darkly: Beer and Modernization in Papua New Guinea, Boroko, Papua New Guinea: Institute of Applied Social & Economic Research.
The author's observations and impressions concerning the diversity in
Papua New Guinea cultures concerning alcohol and other matters are presented.
There are many cultural understandings and uses of, as well as reactions
to alcohol. These are all discussed briefly.
Room, R. (2014). Cannabis legalization and public health: legal niceties, commercialization and countercultures. Addiction, 109(3), 358-359.
It is interesting to see the varied directions in which a discussion of legalization of cannabis for nonmedical purposes (1) can take us. I thank the commentators for their interesting and informed responses.
Room, R. (2014) “Hard-to-define abstract concepts”: addiction terminology and the social handling of problematic substance use in Nordic societies. Nordic Studies on Alcohol & Drugs 31(5-6):435-442.
The articles in this issue analyse the interplay between conceptualisations of problematic psychoactive
substance use and its social handling. The project which resulted in these articles set out to compare
conceptions of “problem use/misuse under the heading of crime, addiction, public nuisance or similar
conceptions”. It is a sister project to one in the EU ALICE RAP project, led by Virginia Berridge, on
the history of addiction concepts in European medical literatures.
Tilbake til hjemmesiden