The American Experience with Alcohol: Contrasting Cultural by Linda A. Bennett, Genevieve M. Ames (auth.), Linda A.

By Linda A. Bennett, Genevieve M. Ames (auth.), Linda A. Bennett, Genevieve M. Ames (eds.)

This quantity is a vital contribution to our figuring out of tradition and alcohol within the usa. Its visual appeal is usually a milestone within the heritage of alcohol experiences in American anthropology. during the last six years, the volume's editors, at the beginning besides Miriam Rodin, have served because the coorganizers of the Alcohol and Drug learn staff of the yank Anthropological organization (AAA). during this ability, they've got equipped classes on the AAA and different conferences, drastically bolstered the examine community with a typical and informative e-newsletter, and painstakingly promoted the ebook of anthropological paintings on al­ cohol and medicine. showing simply because the accountability for the examine crew is handed directly to others, this publication is a becoming logo of the care and effort with which its editors have outfitted an institutional nexus for alcohol and drug anthropology in North the US. The contents of this quantity supply a uniquely extensive sampling of the range of cultural styles that make up the yankee adventure with alcohol. The collective portrait the editors have assembled extends in numerous dimensions: via time and heritage, throughout such social range­ entiations as gender, age-grade, and social classification, and during such significant social associations because the church and the relatives. basically the dominant size of version within the fabric that follows, notwithstanding, is ethnicity. The publication bargains us a sampler of unparalleled richness of different studies with alcohol of yankee ethnoreligious groups.

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Extra info for The American Experience with Alcohol: Contrasting Cultural Perspectives

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This approach frees anthropologists from Western biomedical sickness categories as the etic standard for discussing cultural variation in conceptions of sickness. Yet in this freedom, there is also the loss of an automatic etic standard. This is as it should be. Like other aspects of methodology, standards of measurement should be chosen, not assumed. Foster and Anderson (1978) imply that biological measurements are relevant, but as Ritenbaugh explains (1982), the line between abnormal and normal in the spectrum of biological variation is still culturally defmed.

Another factor in the early development of the Temperance Movement was the encouragement of anti-alcohol sentiment by religious men. The Quakers, as an organized religious group, were among the first to speak out against alcohol misuse. It was largely due to the Quaker influence on colonial culture that the Puritan definition of alcohol changed from "God's good creature" to "demon rum" (Keller, 1976, p. 16). In fact the first published objections to the widespread trend toward heavy drinking, and urgings toward total abstinence, were introduced to public thought in religious pamphlets written by the Quaker reformer Anthony Benezet.

Finally, Rush called this condition a "disease" and recommended total abstinence as the only remedy for the addicted individual. (p. 110) AMERICAN BELIEFS ABOUT ALCOHOLISM 31 . The writings of Rush, combined with the exhortations by men of religion, changed the perspective on heavy drinking from normal and natural behavior to the context of addiction, disease, and sin. It also set off the movement that eventually denounced not only intemperance, but also any use of alcoholic beverages. By 1830, more than one half a million people had signed pledges for temperance or total abstinence.

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