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Social observation and analysis of Alcohol drinking Essay

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Updated: Mar 13th, 2019

Introduction

Social interaction forms are very important aspect of the human life. For a very long time, sociologists have been carrying out investigations to try and explain how the society functions. Some of their views are depicted in the theoretical perspectives which are used to guide sociologists in understanding the society and its members.

This paper seeks to use the alcohol drinking experience as a mirror to view how the different theoretical perspectives are applied in the society. Thus the paper will analyze the social role played by alcohol drinking and the social significance of the places where the drinking takes place. This observational analysis will be benchmarked on the different sociology theories that have been accomplished in class.

Alcohol drinking

Alcohol drinking has been has been around for a very long time. To this date there are several types of alcoholic drinks available in many different societies. Different types of drinks have a different social meaning. The drinks are thus used to divide the society into social strata.

The type of alcoholic drink that is taken by an individual can be linked to his/her values, norms, behavior and how he/she interacts with other people in the society. In some societies the choice of drink is a strong indicator of behavior. However, this description does not include to the situational drinking such as celebrations that might be characterized by one type of drink such as the champagne.

Status indicator

The type of alcohol beverage that is consumed by an individual can be used as a major indicator of his/her status in the society. In most societies, alcoholic beverages that are not produced locally have a higher social status. For instance, the polish population regards wine as a drink of high to middle class status.

The beers and vodkas produced locally in that country or often considered as drinks of an ordinary person. It’s usual to see university students in Poland taking wine to reinforce their importance in the society. In France, as opposed to Poland, the drinking of wine is the order of the day and thus the young elite always turn to imported beers to show their higher status.

However, in the cases of the young ‘elites’ been drinking does not actually reflect their status in the society, it is more of a reflection of what they aspire to be in the future. Furthermore, a particular drink such as wine may not be in itself the definer of the social status. As it has been observed there are different types of wine with different calibers. The type of wine caliber consumed by an individual defines his status in the high and mighty of the society.

Affiliation and loyalty

As it has been observed, the choice of drink may also be used to link an individual to a certain group or to predict his affiliation to an organization. Certain brand of alcohol are usually identified with certain groups, for instance, whisky is usually identified with the Scots, Guinness with the Irish and Tequila with the people of Mexico. Thus the in the social context, a drink can be a significant indicator of the nationality or a person’s loyalty and cultural background

Gender differentiator

In a rather sort of conflict perspective, the alcoholic beverages are not only used to differentiate between the aspirations, class, or status in the society. A more common social classification arises from the gender differentiation role played by alcoholic beverages. The function of alcohol as a differentiator between masculinity and feminine attributes is always seen even in the absence of other differentiating factors.

This is often seen even in the countries or societies where there is only one type of alcoholic beverage. In such a case the drink to be consumed by the females is often made sweeter with a less alcohol content while the male take a strong bitter form of the same. In many societies drinking by females is considered as ‘not drinking’ by the males. Thus males always shun female brands as this may make them appear feminine.

Drinking places

In the second part of this paper we describe the role of the places where the alcoholic beverages are consumed. Most societies across the globe have distinct areas where alcohol is consumed. These places provide a dedicated surrounding that is often separated from the outside world.

The drinking places are often defined with their separate customs, laws and values. It’s common for one person to be surprised by how a friend or colleague behaves while in a bar or night club. This is due to the fact that the values and norms that one adheres to while in the club environment are completely different from those of normal life.

Social interaction function

The social distinction role that is played by drinking places is in one way or another completely different from that of the outside world. People with diverse professional backgrounds in the society can be found mingling in the drinking places. As such the drinking provides an important avenue for social bonding and interaction between individuals who have no other place to meet.

In most societies that practice communal drinking, alcohol is often considered as a leveler. Communal drinking provides a significant means of interaction between individuals of different status in the community or society. The drinking places therefore perform a more important function of challenging the established social order.

An observation made in societies that are ethnically diverse indicate that drinking places often provide norms that enable individuals to feel more equal than in other spheres of life. For instance, observation studies on the American people show that there is a higher chance of individuals from different races to interact in drinking places. In Los Angeles, Americans of Mexican decent and the Anglos usually mix freely in clubs and it’s common to see a dance partner being chosen from other races.

Social bonding

In the earlier observation of the social role played by alcohol it was identified that social bonding, besides social interaction is one of the most important functions of drinking. An important part of the drinking is the generalized feeling of relaxation that comes with it. Thus as it may not be clear but its true that the places where alcohol is taken are very important for bonding to take place between individuals of diverse backgrounds.

Conclusion

This paper sought to analyze the social role played by alcohol drinking and the social significance of the places where the drinking takes place. This observational analysis was to be benchmarked on the different sociology learning objectives. The paper has been able to reveal how alcohol drinking and the places where it is drunk from play an important role in the social lives of human beings.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Social observation and analysis of Alcohol drinking." March 13, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-observation-and-analysis-of-alcohol-drinking/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Social observation and analysis of Alcohol drinking'. 13 March.

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